Avenue Takes Top Prize at Chef’s Challenge @LongBranchPatch

Tre Amici Executive Chef Matthew Zappoli at Chef's Challenge, Long Branch,  April 2011

Chamber of Commerce hosts second annual Chef’s Challenge at Ocean Place Resort.

Seafood was the dominant theme at the second annual Long Branch Chef’s Challenge held last night at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa.

Executive Chef Dominique Filoni of Avenue took the top prize. His wild black sea bass with maitake mushroom, bok choi, and sesame oil in a lemongrass ginger fish broth won the judges over with its simplicity, texture, and flavor.

“It was perfectly cooked. You wanted to go back for more,” said judge Debbie George who is account director for Food & Wine magazine.

“Simplicity and flavor and texture were the three components to success,” said judge Chris Brandl, chef and owner of Brandl restaurant in Belmar.

“I’m not a big a seafood person. Even the fish had nice crispy ends and soft insides,” said judge Michael Sirianni, director of the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park. …

For a taste of this fun event, go to Long Branch Patch.

My favorite city restaurant won, but the braised veal breast with porcini marascapone polenta from Sirena RistoranteSirena Ristorante entry, Chef's Challenge, Long Branch, April 2011 and the black grouper over Asian coleslaw with a smoked mango puree from White MarlinWhite Marlin entry, Chef's Challenge, Long Branch, April 2011 were delicious too. I also enjoyed a couple of beers from 21st Ammendment Brewery that were being featured by West End’s Court Liquors: the Back in Black black IPA and the Monk’s Blood Belgian dark ale. I’m generally not a fan of microbrews, but these were both delicious.

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