North American Import & Export Blog
North American Import Export Food Distributors
Apr 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Microgreens

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Amaranth

  • Size: 1″ – 1 ½”
  • Shelf-life: 2 weeks

Amaranth has a mild wheat grass flavor that complements, but doesn’t overpower, meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Also known as Asian Spinach, it’s pink stems and delicate green leaves make for a beautiful garnish.

Menu Idea: Seared red snapper with grapefruit-lemon confit and amaranth microgreens.

Arugula

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Arugula has a nutty and slightly spicy flavor profile that adds a strong astringent note. A member of the mustard family and considered an aphrodisiac, arugula can be used in a variety of dishes including pizza, pasta, salads, fish, meat and vegetable.

Menu Idea: Wild mushroom ravioli with cured Kurobuta pork belly and arugula microgreens.

Beet (Bull’s Blood)

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Bulls Blood, with its deep red leaves and stem, is a bright, beautiful garnish. Its flavor is predominantly earthy, but with a slight bitter note. A delicate microgreen, bulls blood beets must be handled with care. Bulls blood beet microgreens are best left raw atop meat, fish or salads.

Menu Idea: Roasted beet salad with goat cheese fritters and bulls blood beet microgreens.

Red Beet (Early Wonder)

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Red Beet microgreens have green leaf tops and deep red stems, but lack the bitter note of the bulls blood beet. They are juicy, earthy, and versatile, and are often used in salads for color and an additional flavor dimension.

Menu Idea: Mixed greens with seared foie gras, port wine jus and red beet microgreens.

Basil (Sweet)

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Our sweet basil has a light, sweet licorice flavor and delicate spade-shaped leaves. Basil is a very versatile herb, suitable almost anywhere on the menu, from the amuse bouche to dessert.

Menu Idea: Chilled apple-basil compote with champagne sorbet and sweet basil microgreens.

Basil (Opal)

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Like sweet basil, Opal basil has a licorice flavor and is just as versatile, but has stunning purple stems and purple leaves with light green accents.

Menu Idea: Baked sole with shrimp dumplings, shellfish broth and opal basil microgreens.

Basil (Thai)

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Thai basil is mostly green with traces of purple in the stem and a light cinnamon note.

Menu Idea: Fresh crab & shrimp spring rolls with cucumber / thai basil microgreen salad & peanut vinaigrette.

Basil (Lemon)

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Like basil, but with a citrus note, lemon basil microgreens add another dimension to preparations that would usually incorporate ordinary basil.

Menu Idea: Chilled jumbo prawns with sorrel – lemon basil microgreens and olive oil.

Cilantro

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 4–6 days

Cilantro microgreens have a subtler cilantro flavor than mature cilantro, but add a clear, potent flavor dimension to a dish. It’s great with fish and shellfish.

Menu Idea: Lobster ceviche with heirloom tomatoes and cilantro microgreens.

Celery

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 2 weeks

Celery microgreens taste identical to mature celery and add its recognizable flavor. They look similar to a small leaf of mature celery and pair well with meat and fish.

Menu Idea: Celery puree topped with celery microgreens.

Chives

  • Size: 1″ – 2½”
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Chive microgreens have very fine stems with a full green color and light onion flavor. They pair perfectly with anything that contains onion. Chives will add flavor, but are superficially prized for their looks.

Menu Idea: Smoked salmon tartare with fresh caviar, sour cream and chive microgreens.

Mizuna

  • Size: 1″ – 2½”
  • Shelf-life: 1 week

Mizuna microgreens have a mild mustardy taste and add a nice dimension to savory appetizers and mild-tasting green salads.

Purple Kohlrabi

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 2 weeks

Purple Kohlrabi has a mild cabbage flavor and stunning purple color. Purple kohlrabi microgreens are great as a subtly-flavored garnish.

Tatsoi

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 2 weeks

Tatsoi has a mild mustard-like flavor that gently spices up salads and appetizers.

Watercress

  • Size: 1″ – 2″
  • Shelf-life: 2 weeks

Similar to mature watercress, its microgreen is very juicy and a bit spicy. The versatility of watercress makes it a great enhancement to meat, fish and shellfish dishes.

Menu Idea: Fluke sashimi with jalapeño vinaigrette and a watercress microgreen salad.

We’ll custom grow any micro green varietal… just ask!
Below are a few examples of custom-grow varieties:
  • Red shiso
  • Spicy bush basil
  • Fennel
  • Golden beets
  • Dill
  • Sweat peas
  • Thyme
  • Peppercress
  • Shungiku
  • Purple radish
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Red orach
  • Rainbow chard
  • Kale
  • Sorrel
  • Mustard

Why Our MicroGreens are Different

  • Hand-cut to order the day of shipment
  • No Chemicals
  • Hydroponically grown
  • Snugly packaged in small, airtight clamshells
2 lb. minimum, mix & match in ¼ increments. Availability is consistent, however, weather may occasionally affect quality and may result in a delayed shipment until perfect microgreens are available (We’ll only ship when they are perfect!).

Microgreens pair well with foodservice seafood and wholesale wild mushrooms.

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Apr 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Wild Produce

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These are just a few of our wild produce for foodservice options, all foraged to order in the Cascade Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest
Typically Available April through June

Ramps

Also known as wild leeks, ramps are a wild spring green with a pungent flavor and aroma that is a cross between green onion and garlic. Use ramps like a green onion, either sauteed or raw. They are great in soups, sautés and egg dishes.

Miner’s Lettuce

Most varieties of miner’s lettuce (and there are many) have small delicate green leaves (round or spade shaped) and small clustered white blossoms forming on the inside stems. Miner’s lettuce is best used as a salad green, and is a good base green for mixing with other delicate greens and herbs.

Wood Sorrel

Similar to French Sorrel, wood sorrel has very delicate clover shaped leaves, a vibrant bright lime green color and a lemony flavor (from the presence of oxalic acid). Wood Sorrel is a bright accent in green salads and can be cooked into a sauce or filling.

Stinging Nettles

A fresh, green, spinach/mint flavor characterizes stinging nettles, one of the most versatile, healthy, and delicious plants in the forest. The top two inches from young shoots are the most tender and vibrant. Blanch stinging nettles first for a few minutes to dissolve the stinging agent (folic acid). Then, cook like any other cooking green. Nettles are a great side vegetable or puree for gnocchi or soup.

Wood Violets

Stunning in salads and as a garnish, Wood violets are a beautiful showy plant with leaves and flowers attached together. The leaves have a mellow peppery taste and the showy yellow flowers add a sweet accent. Wood violets are found in marshy areas as a ground cover and are loaded with vitamin C.

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Apr 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Wild Huckleberries

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The huckleberry is a wild relative of the blueberry. Completely undomesticated, each and every huckleberry must be foraged for and hand-picked. These late-summer fruits come in several varieties, ranging in color from bright red (also known as a “Southern cranberry”) to deepest violet-black (the most prized).

Red huckleberries are tart. Blue huckleberries are less so, with a wild flavor that borders on musky. Violet-black huckleberries are the sweetest, pairing exceptionally well with wild salmon for a true Northwest taste.

Applications:

Excellent as a garnish for entrees or desserts, huckleberries also make memorable sauces, perfect for drizzling over wild salmon, foie gras, wild boar, or rabbit. Huckleberries add a unique flavor to traditional desserts like chocolate truffle torte and almond frangipane.

Wine Pairings:

Huckleberries pair well with extra dry or demi-sec sparkling wines.

How to Select:

Look for huckleberries that are clean, firm and plump.

Handling & Storage:

Store huckleberries in a shallow ventilated container, layering paper towels between the berries to absorb any extra juices. Huckleberries should be used immediately for optimum freshness, or frozen or jarred as a syrup or jam for later use.

Pre-prep:

Rinse huckleberries, making sure they are clean of woodland debris. Leave the seeds in tact, as they are edible and add to the flavor.

Cooking:

Huckleberries can be added to baked goods or served as a garnish or sauce over appetizers, entrees or desserts.

How to Buy:

Just give us a call at (888) 276-5955! We’ll FedEx overnight your order, fresh from the mountains of the Pacific Northwest!  We offer both wholesale fresh wild huckleberries and frozen huckleberries for foodservice.

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Apr 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Wild Boar

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Most Wild Boar sold today isn’t truly wild. Even though it sounds like an oxymoron, Wild Boar is often farm-raised, since “Wild Boar” is a distinct species of hog, regardless of whether it’s truly wild/feral or not.

Some Wild Boar, on the other hand (like ours), is actually wild Wild Boar. Each Wild Boar is hunted, trapped and brought to a holding pen before slaughter.

Flavor Profile:

The wildness of true Wild Boar gives it a distinct game flavor that farm-raised Wild Boar simply cannot match. It’s slightly sweet, a tad nutty, and intensely exotic. Although similar to domestic pork and farm-raised Wild Boar, wild Wild Boar has a deeper color, leaner texture, tighter grain, and bolder taste.

Applications:

Since Wild Boar is easily substituted for pork in any recipe, its culinary possibilities are virtually endless.  For some suggestions, check out these wild boar recipes submitted by professional chefs.

Attributes of our Wild Boar:

  • All-Natural
  • No Growth Hormones
  • No Antibiotics
  • Raised and Trapped in the Wild
  • Humanely Treated During and After Capture (No Electric Prods, etc)
  • Diet Largely Consists of Nuts Like Acorns and Peanuts.

Nutrition:

Wild Boar has a third less fat than domestic pork, making it an attractive option for consumers who are watching their weight or cholesterol. A 3 oz serving has 105 calories, 18 grams of protein, 2.85 grams of fat and 47 mg of cholesterol.

How to Buy:

Just give us a call at (800) 459-7349! We’ll FedEx overnight your order, fresh from the Texas Hill Country!  For a list of some of the wild boar products we offer, please visit our wholesale wild boar cuts page.

 

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Apr 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Veal

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Download this Veal Cooking Guide for even more information.

The most common recipes for veal involve traditional applications of veal cutlets, chops or shanks, but it is easy to move past these items to serve innovative veal dishes.

Veal takes well to ingredients that introduce salt, acid and bitterness, such as salted capers, lemon or preserved lemon, anchovy, fresh tomato, olives, artichokes and prosciutto or crispy pancetta. Mediterranean herbs work well too – sage, bay leaf, rosemary and marjoram.

Veal cutlets, pounded thin and lightly dusted with flour, can be sautéed with white wine, lemon, marjoram and chanterelle mushrooms. Veal shanks braise well in white wine, bay leaf and fresh tomato, afterwards served in their cooking juices and topped with a gremolata of lemon zest, chopped Italian parsley and extra virgin olive oil. Veal chops are excellent marinated with anchovy, kalamata olives and rosemary, then grilled.

Veal Briskets yield High Margins

One of the more cost-effective veal cuts for the foodservice chef is the brisket.  Here are some great veal brisket recipes:

Wild Mushroom Braised Veal Brisket over Gorgonzola Polenta & Braised Greens

Separate brisket plate from deckle. Remove all excess fat. Cut into 8oz. pieces. Sear until caramelized. Set aside.

Sauté 2 large carrots, 6 stalks celery, 1 large Spanish onion and 6 cloves of garlic over medium heat scraping bottom of pan until tender. Deglaze with white wine. Reduce white wine until practically gone. Add 2 gallons of veal stock or 1 gallon veal demi glaze & 1 gallon of water. Add 2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms & return veal brisket to pan.

Bring to boil then turn down and simmer for 3-4 hours. When meat is tender, remove, then reduce broth to rich sauce (consistency should coat back of spoon). When sauce is ready, strain and return meat. This will prevent from drying.

Make polenta to your liking. Add crumbled artisanal blue cheese over polenta to taste. Preheat individual portion of veal brisket in sauce, adding fresh wild mushrooms of your choice. Braise greens such as chard or escarole with garlic. Place on plate next to polenta. Slice brisket and place it over top nape’ with sauce.

Slow Roasted Veal Brisket with Parmesan Risotto & Spinach

Season veal brisket generously with salt, pepper and 2 sprigs of your choice of herb per piece. Individually wrap in aluminum foil. Put on sheet tray and put in preheated 300-degree oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and let rest in aluminum for at least 30 minutes. Drain juice from inside the aluminum foil into sauce pan and add demi glaze. Reduce to sauce consistency.

Precook Risotto Reserve. Bring cream to simmer, add risotto and handful of Parmesan cheese. Cook until tender, adjust seasoning. Bring enough sauce for 1 portion to simmer in saucepan. Slice veal brisket against the grain scraping off excess fat. Add to sauce to reheat. Sauté spinach and assemble plate.

Veal Brisket and Grits

Ed Matthews, Owner and Executive Chef at One Block West, knows how to turn a low-food-cost item into a delectable profit center. Check out his recipe below and others on his blog.

For 20-24 portions: 4 Le Québécois veal point end briskets (about 16 pounds); vegetable oil; 1-1/2 cups duck fat*, oil, or other fat; 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour; 4 poblano* chiles, diced; 2 large yellow onions, diced; 1 bunch green onions, sliced; 6 stalks celery, diced; 6 tablespoons garlic, minced; 4 T Cajun spice mix*; 1/2 #10 can diced tomatoes with juice; water; salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a braising pan over high flame, film with vegetable oil, and sear hard both sides of each brisket, being careful not to burn the fond. Remove briskets from pan. Add the oil, duck fat, or bacon grease and bring to temperature. Add the flour and stir frequently to form a medium brown roux. Add the vegetables to the pan to stop the roux from cooking and stir well for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and spice mix and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and mix well, then the briskets, and enough water to come about half way up the briskets. Cover and braise until tender, 4-6 hours. Remove meat to a hotel pan and chill. Defat the gravy and season to taste. Reserve gravy for service.

Slice a portion of veal (three slices about 3/8″ thick, about 8 ounces) across the grain. Reheat 4 ounces of reserved gravy and the veal in a sauté pan. Finish in a hot oven, turning the veal once, until everything is hot. Mound grits in the well of large soup plate. Place veal and gravy over. Garnish as desired.

Ed’s Notes: Roux in Cajun home cooking is made from whatever fat happens to be on hand. If you process as much duck at your restaurant as we do here, you have buckets of duck fat on hand at any time. Duck fat gives the roux great depth of flavor.

Poblano chiles are not traditional in Cajun and Creole cooking; Bell peppers are. To me, bell peppers have an assertive vegetal flavor that I don’t really care for and I find that they bring out the absolute worst qualities in a wine. I’m also convinced that if the Acadians had had Poblanos, they would have used them in preference to Bell peppers.

Cajun spice mix is ubiquitous: you can find it anywhere. Years ago, I used to make a unique blend for each specific dish, but now as a time saver, we make 5-pound batches of a blend that I’ve been tweaking for 10 years. Use whatever you feel like.

Other Veal Recipes

For other suggestions for using grain-fed veal, Le Québécois offers a collection of grain-fed veal recipes covering most cuts on their website

Veal Wine Pairings

Although veal is a red meat, its lightness and leanness make it an excellent match for white wines and lighter, more acidic reds. If you are serving veal prepared with white wine and anchovy or lemon, choose a full white like a Soave or Vin de Savoie. If you have added chanterelle mushrooms to the sauté, or are serving grilled veal chops or veal shanks braised in tomato, go for a red such as Nebbiolo, Gamay Noir or Zweigelt, a medium-bodied red wine from Austria.

Available Food Service Veal Programs:

 

 Call us at (888) 276-5955 for more information!

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Apr 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms

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Chanterelle mushrooms are one of the more widely known and most sought-after of the wild mushrooms harvested in North America. Found in forests on both coasts under conifers and oak trees, they are a warm yellow to orange in color, with a trumpet-like cap over a sometimes spindly stem. Their aroma is both earthy and fruity, often described as apricot-like, and they have an earthy flavor and firm, chewy texture when simply sautéed with butter and herbs or added to a soup or stew. Chanterelles tend to come into season in the Pacific Northwest, depending on weather, anytime from fall until early spring.

Applications:

Chanterelles are best when shown on their own, such as in a sauté or a ragout, or when accompanying a main dish like salmon or wild boar. Their firm texture and strong earthiness go well with herbs like sage, rosemary, tarragon and thyme. They are good in stews with rich stocks, and go very well with roasted corn and with mild, creamy goat cheese.

Wine Pairings:

Pair a simple sauté of chanterelles with a very dry rose wine from Provence or Spain. If serving them as a side dish with salmon or wild boar, choose a medium-bodied fruity red, such as a simple Burgundy or a light sangiovese like Morellino di Scansano.

How to Select:

Look for mushrooms that are clean, uniformly golden and dry. Size will vary a lot, from small, compact buttons to larger, flowery ones, but always try to find chanterelles with compact, unopened gills and not too much stem. It is not uncommon for a batch of wild chanterelles to contain some dirt or pine needles, but avoid any that are wet or are beginning to turn soggy.

Handling & Storage:

Store chanterelles cool and dry, with room to breathe. The best storage is in a walk-in cooler in a ventilated bin, layered and covered with napkins or paper towels. Never wash chanterelles, and always try to keep them dry.

Pre-prep:

Brush chanterelles free of any dirt or pine needles you may find. Trim the ends of the larger stems, retaining any trimmings for making stock. Smaller mushrooms will cook nicely as they are; larger ones should be halved or even quartered, lengthwise.

Cooking:

Chanterelles can be sautéed or braised. They are also easily added to soups or hearty stews.

How to Buy:

Just give us a call at (800) 276-5955! We’ll FedEx overnight your order, fresh from the mountains of the Pacific Northwest!  We offer wholesale fresh chanterelle mushrooms, dried chanterelle mushrooms for foodservice, and frozen chanterelle mushrooms from France.

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Apr 16, 2009

How About Dinner on Us?

 

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We are a fine-dining restaurant supplier that specializes in “center of the plate” products that master chefs rely upon when designing their signature dishes.  (If you know MarxFoods.com, we are their big sister…the original company that MarxFoods.com was created from).

While this division is focused on serving fine restaurants, we’d like to ask YOU, the restaurant patron, to tell us where you would most like to eat.

Leave a comment below, telling us the name, city and state of the restaurant where you would most like to eat and why and you will be entered to receive a $200 gift certificate to use at that restaurant.

Any fine dining establishment in the US is fair game!

Enter by May 3, 2009 at midnight by leaving a comment below.  The winning entry will be selected at random using the random integer generator at random.org and will be announced on May 4, 2009 May 5, 2009 May 6, 2009.

Good luck!!!

Read Contest Rules.

Apr 16, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Fiddlehead Ferns

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Fiddlehead Ferns, one of the stars of our wholesale wild produce line, are the scroll-like fronds of any wild edible fern. They grow in clusters near streams on mountain slopes in the NW & NE coasts of North America. Pickers forage the mountains in their “secret spots” where fiddleheads grow every year.

Flavor Profile:

Fiddleheads taste like a cross between asparagus and an artichoke. Their mild flavor and nutty bite will please the most discriminating palate.

Applications:

They can be used in ways similar to any firm green vegetable and are exciting substitutes for string beans, spinach, artichokes and asparagus. Fiddleheads are great in pasta dishes and as a side for steak, lamb, seafood and poultry.

How to select:

As the fern fronds mature, they will begin to unfurl and become less tender. Therefore, the freshest fronds with the tightest scrolls and brightest jade green color will have the best flavor and texture. When fresh, their aroma is similar to fresh-mowed grass.

Handling & Storage:

Tightly wrap and refrigerate fiddleheads at 35° F to prevent drying. They have a short shelflife and should be used within a couple days.

Pre-prep:

Before cooking, rub off any brown scales and trim to about 1 inch below the coil of the head. Discard any fiddleheads with black scales. Blanch with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda. Then, shock the fiddleheads to retain their beautiful jade green color.

Cooking:

They can be sauteed, stir-fried or steamed. They should be cooked to achieve an asparagus-like texture with a light crunch that gives when bitten into.

Nutrition:

A six oz. serving contains 58 calories and .7 grams of fat. Fiddleheads are a good source of vitamins A and C. Fiddlehead ferns should be consumed in small quantities. Do not eat raw.

How to Buy:

Restaurants: give us a call at (888) 276-5955! We’ll overnight them to you, fresh from the mountains!  Home chefs: Buy fiddlehead ferns here.

For information about some of our other foodservice products, visit our Chef’s Notes Collection.

Feb 09, 2009

New Product: Le Quebecois Veal Demi-Glace

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Le Quebecois Grain-fed Veal has just released a new product: veal demi-glace made from Le Quebecois bones.

Unlike the typical recipe for commercial veal demi, which relies upon a roux-thickened espagnole sauce to stretch the amount of veal stock used, Le Quebecois is made in the style of glace de viande, meaning that it is all stock. This results in a purer veal flavor, unclouded by the muddy taste of concentrated brown roux. It also means you can safely serve sauces made from it as part of gluten-free dishes without running the risk of aggravating someone’s allergy.

Le Quebecois Veal Demi-Glace is made in a kitchen by expert chefs and is now available through North American Import Export frozen in 4 pound tubs.

To use, simply thaw the demi and add to your preparations as you would house-made demi-glace. No reconstitution or dilution necessary. Any leftovers can merely be frozen again and used at a later date.

Nov 23, 2008

Le Québécois Grain-fed Veal Recipe Contest Winner

Le Québécois Grain-fed Veal just hosted a veal recipe contest. Professional chefs and culinary students submitted 135 extremely impressive, professional veal recipes to the contest.   

 

All of the recipes have been organized by cut and can be viewed at the Le Québécois veal recipe collection.

Finalist #1: Herb Roasted Loin of Veal, Layered Confit Potatoes with Braised Veal, Creamy Salsify, Pan Seared Sweet Breads and Parsnip Chips

by David Fritsche, Senior Sous Chef of Jumeirah Essex House in New York City

 

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Finalist #2: Osso Bucco Stuffed Herb Crusted Veal Chop over Porcini and White Truffle Risotto with Brunello de Montalcino Sauce

by Phil Kane, Chef de Cuisine of The Colony Bay Club in Bonita Springs, FL

 

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Finalist #3: Techniques in Veal: Spring Braise en Croute, Saute & Crepenette

by Dean A. Thomas, Executive Chef of Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino in Lakeside, CA

 

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Finalist #4: “21st Century Vitello Tonnato” Braised Grain-fed Veal Osso Bucco and Sashimi Tuna Roll with Celery Root Horseradish Mash, Pignoli Nut Chive Gremolata and Bone Marrow Balsamic Reduction

by Dino Jagtiani, Chef / Owner of Rare and Temptation Bar & Restaurant in Cupecoy, St. Maarten, N.A.

 

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Finalist #5: Veal Scalopini Salad with Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Figs, Goat Cheese & Shitake Mushrooms

By Connie Deady, Corporate Chef of Occidental Petroleum Corp. in Los Angeles, CA

 

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THE WINNING RECIPE:

Herb Roasted Loin of Veal by Chef David Fritsche

 

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Chef David won $1000 in cash and a trip for two to Montreal.  

 

The four contest finalists; Chef Philip Kane, Chef Dean Thomas, Chef Dino Jagtiani, and Chef Connie Deady won a $250 gift certificate to MarxFoods.com.