Albany, NY: Ommegang Hop Chef Competition

Friday I was lucky enough to attend another one of Ommegang’s Great Food Deserves Great Beer events: the Albany Hop Chef Competition.  This is the second of these of these events (the next is in Philly) where the winner of each of the three events will compete at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown to be crowned this year’s Hop Chef. Each of the chefs paired Ommegang’s beer with two dishes using one of Chef Teddy Folkman’s 5 beer pairing techniques. Here were the Chefs’ pairings for the night:

Brian Bowden – Executive Chef | Creo’ Restaurant

  • ABBEY ALE Paired with Oxrail & Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine with pickled locally foraged ramps.
  • HENNEPIN Paired with Columbia River Wild Salmon, Pea Pancake, Egg and Cracklin’s.
Elliot Cuniff – Executive Chef | Colonie Golf & Country Club
  • HENNEPIN Paired wich Foie Gras Sashimi, Crispy Wonton, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi Foam, Coriander.
  • BPA Paired with Lemongrass & Ginger-Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Abbey Ale Cider Braising Jus, Parsnip Puree, Pineapple Hoisin Glaze, Pickled Cabbage, Tobacco Onion.
Marcus Gulliano – Executive Chef & Owner | Aroma Thyme Bistro
  • HENNEPIN Paired with Organic Jewel Yam & White Mountain Farms Quinoa Cake, with Hennepin-Sauteed Chanterelles & Hennepin-­Pickled Fennel.
  • THREE PHILOSOPHERS Paired with Fig-Macerated Three Philosophers Ice Cream, Goji Berry & Chocolate Crisp, Three Philosophers & Palm Sugar Syrup.
AJ Jayapal – Corporate Food & Beverage Director | The Mallozzi Family, Miss Sydney’s
  • WITTE Paired with Handcrafted Turkey Shami Kebab, Toasted Coconut and Chick Pea Salad, Indu’s Chutney.
  • RARE VOS Rare Vos­-Infused Miss Sydney’s Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Malted Savory Waffle, Rare Vos-­Braised Fresh Sauerkraut of Apples, Bacon and Cabbage, Earthquake Mayo.
Rachel Mabb – Bitches Kitchen
  • WITTE Paired with Chili Shrimp & Sausage Wonton in Hennepin Broth.
  • RARE VOS Paired with Pork Tostada with Seduction Mole & Cherry Salsa.

Ric Orlando – Chef & Owner | New World Home Cooking, New World Bistro Bar

  • WITTE Paired with Snow Crab and Scallop Sausage, “Dirty Blonde” Mousse, Wheatberry Blondie.
  • THREE  “Three Phils, Three Pigs”: Jerk Pork Rib Salad with Smothered Cabbage; Pork Belly-Cherry-Black Garlic Caramel; Pigs Ears, shaved  Lacinata Kale, Chipotle-­Cherry Vinaigrette.
Jaime Ortiz – Corporate Executive Chef | Mazzone Hospitality
  • RARE VOS “Rare ofthe Dog,” Rare Vos and Faux Egg Shooter with a Honey Thyme Bacon Chaser – sure to cure what “ales” you.
  • HENNEPIN paired with Rustic Braised Veal Cheeks with Hennepin Wheat Berry Risotto.

Paul J. Ozimek – Executive Chef | Taste

  • ABBEY ALE Paired with Venison-Filled Veal Roulade/ Zucchini Creme Fraiche/  Fennel Chip.
  • THREE PHILOSOPHERS Paired with smoked Salmon Pastrami & Asparagus Terrine/ Cherry Sweet and Sour.

My two favorite dishes of the night were Chef Marcus’ Fig-Macerated Three Philosophers Ice Cream and Chef Ric’s Three Phils, Three Pigs. Homemade ice cream is one of my specialties and I’ve been trying to incorporate beer into ice cream for a while now. I’m trying to figure out how to do so without losing the alcohol in the beer, and while Marcus boiled down Three Phils to make this ice cream, it was still my favorite dish of the night. Ric’s Pigs go without saying, pork is the best way to a man’s (my) heart. Especially pork belly. Phenom.

Anyways, enough about me. Here’s how the chefs fared in the competition:

The Results

  • People’s choice winner: A.J. Jayapal
  • Second runner-up: Ric Orlando
  • First runner-up: Paul Ozimek

…And the Albany Hop Chef Competition winner: Jaime Ortiz!

It was an great time and, as usual, Ommegang puts on an amazing event. I can’t wait to see how our local Chef Jaime Ortiz does against the winners from from DC and Philly in August. Good luck!

A few more pics can be found here.

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