Columbia, Mo.,—Chef Nathan Frazo with Missouri State Dining Services in Springfield received highest honors during the Springfield/Branson Taste of Elegance culinary competition held November 14 at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center in Springfield. Chef Nathan’s entrée was titled Chipotle Pork Mole Duo – Roasted Pork Belly, Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin, Smoked Cheddar Poblano Polenta, Caramelized Butternut Squash, Stone Fruit Mole and Stone Fruit Mustarda. His winning dish earned the $1,000 top award and the opportunity to attend the national Pork Summit held in St. Helena, California.
The Springfield/Branson Taste of Elegance was hosted by the Missouri Pork Association and the Ozarks Food Harvest. Pork products for the evening were sponsored by Smithfield DURoC Pork. The Ramada Oasis Convention Center and Missouri Wine and Grape Board provided additional support. Thanks to Lindwedel Winery and St. James Winery for providing wine samples during the banquet.
Almost 250 attendees also sampled the dishes during a reception to honor Ozarks Food Harvest donors. Guests voted Chef Kevin Mueller with the Aviary Café in Springfield the People’s Choice Award winner for his entrée of Pomegranate Honey Glazed Pork Belly and Pastrami Cured Pork Ribs served atop a Butternut Squash Puree, with Cardamom Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale and Prosciutto Crisps paired with a Pomegranate Mustard Chutney.
Second place in the competition and $500 also went to Chef Kevin. Third place and $250 went to Chef Aaron Gregory with Oasis Fire and Ice in Springfield for his Ancho Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin with a Blue Cornmeal Cake, Roasted Yellow Pepper Cream and Pickled Fajita Vegetables.
“We are proud to sponsor the Taste of Elegance events,” said Don Nikodim, executive vice president of the Missouri Pork Association. “Working with chefs to create new menu items, then promoting those items, helps build demand for pork, while introducing consumers to the product’s great taste.”
Eight chefs prepared dishes for judging on originality, taste, presentation and menu applicability. This year’s judges included: Chef Charles Bowen with Twin Hills Country Club in Joplin, Chef Jennifer Smith with The Traveling Chef in Springfield, and MPA’s Don Nikodim.
This is the 30th year for national Taste of Elegance events. The National Pork Board sponsored the first event in 1987.
The Missouri Pork Association represents the state’s pork producers in areas of promotion, research, education and legislation. For more information about this or any other programs of the Missouri Pork Association, go to www.mopork.com, or call the Missouri Pork Association Office at (573)445-8375.
Note to Media: Photos of the winners and winning entrée’s are available. Please contact Diane Slater at (573) 445-8375.