Sarah Hassler vs. Alex Nicklaw
- Chance Bear hosted a Chef Challenge at his restaurant, The Ridge in Chittenango.
- The chefs, Sarah Hassler and Alex Nicklaw, were tasked with creating vegetarian and gluten free dishes with food provided by Maines.
- Two secret ingredients had to be incorporated: vegetarian protein and chayote.
The chefs had one hour to prepare two dishes each utilizing the ingredients provided. Guests were invited to watch the chefs create the meals and were given samples afterward. Appetizers were provided by the Ridge. Chance Bear plans to host more of these battles. http://theridgerocks.com
Judges Bill Brod (Syracuse New Times), Misse Thomas (CNY Alive), and Nick Zdimal (Maines) unanimously chose Sarah’s plantain and fresh squash dish as the winner.
Challenger Alex Nicklaw notably nailed the presentation factor. It was a difficult decision overall and I would be happy to order any of the four vegetarian dishes at a restaurant.
Sarah Hassler said she may have had an edge because she is newly a vegan. Alex created a vegetarian ricotta similar to something he has used before.
Both teams rose to the challenge with uniquely flavorful, healthy options. There were many interesting conversations about the demand for vegetarian, vegan and gluten free specialty dishes at restaurants. The guests and judges alike enjoyed the event’s menu.
You can find reigning Salt City Iron Chef Sarah Hassler at Peppino’s Neapolitan, soon to be rebranded as Pomodoro. Alex Nicklaw is at The Talisman Taproom.