fish and chips

Silicon Valley (fish and) chips … and the winner is …

They have award ceremonies and competitions for everything these days. So it’s no surprise to discover that recently a competition was held to award the prize for the best corporate chef in Silicon Valley.

The corporate cook-off contestants in this competition were:

  • Malachi Harland, Executive Chef, Google
  • Nicolai Tuban, Executive Chef, Samsung
  • Russell Grabe, Executive Chef, Yahoo!
  • Steve Catalano, Chef de Cuisine, LinkedIn
  • Tim Hilt, Culinary Director, Oracle
  • Dominique Faury, Executive Chef, Brocade Communication Systems

Judging the contest were a number of Bay Area foodies, including Michael Bauer from the San Francisco Chronicle, Hubert Keller from the restaurant Fleur and Marc Murphy from the Food Network. The cook-off cooked-off at the International Culinary Centre in Campbell.

Each contestant was handed a ‘mystery bag’ of ingredients and ordered to use them to prepare a mouth-watering meal. The bag ended up containing fresh fava beans, quail eggs, ground hazelnuts, Grana Padano cheese and Soy Vay sauce. The chefs were also provided with a range of typical stock cooking ingredients and various meats.

Google’s Chef Harland set the pace early doors by creating brochettes of quail and pork tenderloin. LinkedIn’s Chef Catalano took a more deliberate approach, while the heavily-backed Chef Hilt of Oracle expressed his admiration for healthy options by add quinoa, kale and seared tuna as ingredients to his mystery bag.

Chef Tuban of Samsung chose to go Asian by creating a sauce rich in umami flavours and added okra – not a vegetable that’s recognised as a favourite by all – as an ingredient. Brocade’s Chef Faury remained true to his French roots by poaching the quail eggs in red wine.

Once the meals have been fried, seared, broiled and seasoned it was time for the judges to give the delights on offer a taste. They then deliberated (and masticated) before announcing the winners.

In third place finished Russell Grabe of Yahoo, with his basic ‘steak and eggs’ dish – beef marinated in Soy Vay and topped with a quail egg over a puree of fava beans, cauliflower and Grana Padano.

The silver spoon award went to Steven Catalano of LinkedIn. He too chose beef filet as one of his main ingredients, to which he added maitake mushrooms, a fried quail egg and port belly.

Winner on the day though was Google’s Malachi Harland who really went to town with his dish of grilled and oven-finished Soy Vay glazed quail and pork brochettes, accompanied by leek and ground hazelnut fritters, green beans saut&eaccute;ed with mushrooms and a fava bean puree. Delish!

Next up for the Bay Area foodies is the BITE silicon event which commences on 5 June. This three-day culinary festival is bringing together all the very best Bay Area chefs, as well as food experts such as Jos&eaccute; Andr&eaccute;s – the famous Spanish-American chef who is also chair of the advisory board for LA Kitchen – to talk food technology with the hungry Silicon Valley crowd.