Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fill the Grill Cook off 2

The second "Iron Chef" style Cook off at Whole Foods matched chef Tuan Tran from Crave against chef Steve Saelg of the Crooked Spoon Food Truck. The chefs were given $2o to spend and 20 minutes to shop. They then had 20 minutes to prepare a healthy summer meal using an electric grill. The event was again held at Whole Foods Market at Phillips Crossing (8003 Turkey Lake Road). When I arrived the chefs were arranging their respective cooking areas. With a minute to the start of the throw-down, two shopping carts were rolled out for the chefs. An announcer began a countdown to the start of the competition. As the chefs shopped I sketched the grilling area.

Chef Tuan Tran arrived at his grilling station first. He prepared a Korean grilled beef marinated in soy sauce with a pepper paste, sesame seeds and sugar. He also made cellophane noodles marinated in soy, sesame seed oil and garlic, all grilled in butter. He also grilled tomatoes with olive oil, garlic and minced cilantro. The crowning touch was that he also bought several bottles of Vietnamese beer to serve with his dish.

Chef Steve Saelg was busy preparing a chili crusted chicken thighs with ginger, fennel served with couscous. He also grilled avocado and sliced orange wheels sprinkled with a ginger fennel vinaigrette. The chefs moved with swift deliberation. Before I knew it they were done.

I continued sketching as the three judges tasted the dishes and deliberated. Chef Steve Saelg was declared the winner. He will go to the final competition against the winner of the previous throw-down, Alec Cheak of Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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