It’s that time of year again; some of the best chefs in the Rogue Valley are set to converge upon the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites to compete in the 13th Annual Ashland Culinary Festival November 7th – 10th. Over the course of three days, chefs and their respective sous chefs, as well as the area’s top mixologists, will show off their skills in front of a panel of esteemed judges who will ultimately decide who is the year’s “Top Chef” and “Best Mixologist.” Last year, Standing Stone placed 3rd overall in the competition as the judges’ “Wild Card” selection.
Standing Stone Executive Chef Raider Babcock and Sous Chef Jeff Hunt hope to secure first place in this year’s competition. Both chefs reflected upon their experience last year and what their strengths are going into this year’s contest:
Raider: “I think having a bit more knowledge about the set-up, what the rules are, and what to expect this year is going to make a big difference. We went in completely blind last year, and I think that had a lot to do with a third-place finish. It was the first competition on that level for either one of us, and just understanding the set-up and where to find things presented a challenge. [Having that knowledge now], all of our moves going forward are going to be more concise, clean and in my mind, will make a big difference. We aren’t rookies this year.”
Jeff: “We balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ve been cooking together for almost two years now, and I think that the dance we’ve developed in the kitchen gives us an advantage. This year, we have a fighting attitude and are going to go in, rock it out and take first.”
Standing Stone bartender Ron Morairty will also represent the brewpub in the mixology competition that kicks off on Friday at 5:30 PM in the same location. He is competing with 5 years of bartending experience and a love for his craft.
Ron: “I enjoy the fact that I get to converse with people and help teach them about different cocktails and spirits. I just love being able to help someone enjoy spirits that they don’t typically try, by tailoring drinks specifically to their likes and dislikes.”
We hope you will join us for all of the exciting competition that is set to go down this coming weekend as our chefs put their best knives forward!
Tickets are available at the door or on-line at http://travelashland.com
For more information visit: http://www.ashlandchamber.com/Page.asp?NavID=782