Eugene Cole/ Sun Star
The Museum of the North was filled with people laughing, chatting and enjoying food made by local food trucks and small businesses for the third annual Chef’s Challenge at the Museum on Nov. 11. This challenge raises funds for the Museum of the North to help promote its programs at the university, and exhibits culinary creativity using local ingredients.
In a competition reminiscent to “Iron Chef,” restaurants around town are invited to create dishes to serve to guests using beer from HooDoo Brewing, one of the event’s sponsors, as a main ingredient. Entries were evaluated by three judges, who eventually selected one champion from the event. This year was different though—instead of inviting restaurants to participate they invited Food Truck owners and small businesses to show off their creativity.
For the past two years the competition was only comprised of savory dishes, this year however they added a sweet category for desserts. The businesses that participated in this year’s “Chef’s Challenge at the Museum” in the “Savory” category were: Between the Buns, Big Daddy’s Barbeque, El Sobro, Frostbite Foods, Spice it up and Stone Soup Café. In the new “Sweets” category three businesses competed: A&K Cupcakes, Jo’s Oven and Stir it Up. At the end of the night the grand champion in the “Savory” category was Big Daddy’s Barbeque and the winner of the first ever “Sweets” competition was Jo’s Oven.
Randee Witt of A&K Cupcakes presents her cupcakes to the judges as the audience looks on. A&K Cupcakes has been a local business for seven years and was the first cupcake business to be established in Fairbanks. Witt's entry was a pumpkin cupcake, with a reduced pumpkin ale Italian buttercream icing, topped with a candied orange zest. Eugene Cole/ Sun Star
Steve Moody of Big Daddy’s Barbeque chats with guests as food is served. Originally known as Charlie T’s, Big Daddy’s has been operating their restaurant and food truck for twelve years. Last year they won the people’s choice award, but this year left the “Chef’s Challenge at the Museum” as grand champions. Big Daddy's Barbeque served deep fried beer battered brisket balls with a stout and KC sauce. The brisket was smoked for fourteen hours and the HooDoo's beer was incorporated into the batter and the sauce. Eugene Cole/ Sun Star
Flaviano Clement Torres and Melissa Torres, co-owners of El Sabor, prepare plates for attendees. Flaviano was born in Guerrero, Mexico and has fifteen years of kitchen experience under his belt. El Sabor was a food vendor at the Farmer's Market for two summers and has since become a local favorite. For their entry the Torreses made a tuna ceviche with a Belgian Saison Salt and Mosaic Pale-infused mangoes drizzled with a stout reduction, all served on a salted corn tostada. Eugene Cole/ Sun Star
Michaella Perez of new business Stir It Up was the final contestant to present to the judges. Perez's unique dessert was a sweet and salty chocolate stout mousse with a weiss candied bacon garnish, a pumpkin ale white chocolate sauce and a potato chip crumble. Eugene Cole/ Sun Star
Steve Moody congratulates the first-ever winner of the challenge's "Sweets" category, Jo Pearson of Jo’s Oven. Pearson's dessert was a three cupcake ensemble; a sourdough chocolate cupcake with a HooDoo stout buttercream frosting topped with candied bacon, a ginger sourdough cupcake with HooDoo pale ale buttercream frosting topped with a pine nut, pretzel and beer brittle, and a spiced sourdough cupcake with a spiced barley topped with poached pears and a HooDoo spiced barley wine drizzle. All the cupcakes and frosting was made within a time span of six hours, and there were plenty to feed the judges and crowd alike. Eugene Cole/ Sun Star