WACS 2012- Global Chefs Challenge


Sunday, May 13, 2012
posted by: William

Hi all,

As previously promised here is my “compte rendu” of the incredible Global Chefs Challenge that occurred on Friday, May 04, 2012.  I have already chatted about how the Challenge occurred  in my last blog. This time I would like to offer you the dishes that each finalist prepared for the judges. As the principal wine & food pairing judge I had the opportunity to sample all 28 dishes as well as their wine matches for each dish.

All finalists were obliged to use the same main ingredients. Starter: Mushrooms; Fish: Sterling white halibut; Main: Wagyu beef; Dessert: Strawberries

And here is the list of wines that all finalists had to choose from to match each of their dishes.

  • 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc-Marlborough NZ
  • 2009 Robert Mondavi  Chardonnay – Napa Valley-California
  • 2011 Dr. Loosen Ederner Treppchen Riesling Kabinett – Mosel-Germany
  • 2010 Chapoutier Tavel Rose – Rhone-France
  • 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages – Beaujolais-France
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir – Burgundy-France
  • 2008 Montgras Antu Ninquen Cabernet Sauvignon- Colchagua-Chile
  • 2009 Two Hands “Gnarly Dudes” Shiraz – Barossa Valley-Australia
  • 2008 Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora – Victoria-Australia
  • 2008 Ginestet Sauternes – Sauternes-France

So here goes:

TEAM 1 – CANADA- Chef Tobias MacDonald (representing the Americas)

Starter: Bluefoot, morel and hedgehog salad roll; green curry anchor cream; peanut, lime and cucumber garnish; chimichurri spring salad, yuzi basil seed vinaigrette (selected wine: 2008 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir)

Fish: Sterling white halibut, lobster blanket; halibut and spinach mousse tile, coconut mayonnaise; lobster sphere, carrot wasabi pea puree; heart of palm, carrot, pickled ramps; squid ink puffs (selected wine: 2009 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett)

Main: AACO Kobe master brisket with sweetbreads wrapped in bacon; Kobe sirloin, olive crust; seared Canadian foie gras, natural jus; mainland parmesan pomme au gratin; yam with dried brisket, cabbage puree, fiddlehead, golden beet and salsify (selected wine: 2009 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz)

Dessert: White chocolate globe, golden leaf; korean strawberries, vanilla pastry cream, almond cake and lemon curd; berry gelee with green almond; strawberry cheesecake ice-cream, caramelized white chocolate and cocoa nib; kalamansi strawberry explosion (selected wine: 2008 Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora)

TEAM 2: Norway – Chef Geir Magnus Svae (representing Europe-North)

Starter: Tarte filled with mushrooms, espuma on ceps mushrooms and “Snofrisk” cream cheese marinated Shi-me-gii, mushrooms chips, quail egg cranberry crumble and radish (selected wine: 2010 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages)

Fish: Milk salted poached Sterling white halibut, crispy halibut with scallop and fennel; Jerusalem artichokes royal, artichoke, pickled cucumber, petit pois, cauliflower, applesauce (selected wine: 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc)

Main: Pepperfried Wagyu sirloin with smoked “Kviteseid” butter; brisket with beer, onion and horseradish; potato, carrot and sweetbread; parsley root puree, beetroot; book beer sauce (selected wine: 2008 Montgras Ninquen Antu Cabernet Sauvignon)

Dessert: white chocolate cream with strawberry copulis; strawberry and champagne jelly; pistachio puree, sour cream with black pepper; doughnut with mom’s stirred strawberries and yogurt ice cream (selected wine: 2009 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett)

TEAM 3: UAE (United Arab Emirates) – Chef Daniel Edward

Starter: Mushroom brûlée, formulated tomato, balsamic reduction (selected wine: 2010 Chapoutier Tavel Rose)

Fish: Oven baked halibut; slow cooked halibut, pea puree; yuzu emulsion (selected wine: 2009 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett)

Main: Pan seared Wagyu sirloin; braised Waygu brisket, sous vide sirloin bresaola; stuffed patato, corn essence, glazed green beans and carrots, roasted garlic sauce. (selected wine: 2008 Montgras Ninquen Antu Cabernet Sauvignon)

Dessert: Strawberry roulade; jelly; mousse; sorbet (selected wine: 2008 Ginestet Sauternes)

TEAM 4: Hong Kong- Chef Leung Chi Hang (representing Asia)

Starter: mushroom, Savoy cabbage and avocado terrine; lemon coulis (selected wine: 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc)

Fish: Confit halibut Fillet crusted with almond; ratatouille and saffron crabmeat ravioli on crab roe cream sauce (selected wine: 2009 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay)

Main: Roasted Wagyu sirloin wit Parma ham and poached wagyu brisket with sautéed spring vegetables, pumpkin potato puree and rosemary balsamic sauce (selected wine: 2009 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz)

Dessert: Strawberry combination: strawberry chocolate cream; warm chocolate cheesecake; strawberry parfait (selected wine: 2008 Ginestet Sauternes)

TEAM 5: New Zealand – Chef Francky Godinho (representing Pacific)

Starter: Mixed mushroom cappuccino with mushroom salad and gooseberry dressing served on porcini mushroom toast and beetroot reduction (selected wine: 2008 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir)

Fish: Sterling white halibut fillet topped with crayfish mousse on a ragout of beans; poached halibut and crayfish in clear tomato jelly, mandarin puree, Furikake crumbled quail egg, cucumber, asparagus and shellfish bisque (selected wine: 2009 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay)

Main: Pan roasted “Darling Downs Wagyu” strip loin, braised ox tongue and beef brisket pudding, beef goulash with sour cream, kumara puree, buttered organic vegetables, finished with a rich beef jus (selected wine: 2009 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz)

Dessert: Sugar sphere filled with korean strawberries and rosewater sorbet, terrine of white chocolate and mascarpone mousse centred with strawberry jelly, a tian of strawberries and chocolate topped with ganache and a pistachio tuile (selected wine: 2008 Ginestet Sauternes)

TEAM 6: Italy – Chef Angelo Giovanni di Lena (representing Europe-South)

Starter:  Royal of ricotta with mushrooms composition and rocket (rucola) puree and crispy red beet.(selected wine: 2009 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett)

Fish: Halibut fillet with tomato cover, black olive sauce and stuffed shrimped with saffron and red caramelized shallots (selected wine: 2010 Chapoutier Tavel Rose)

Main: Variation of kobe (sirloin & brisket) with truffle sauce (selected wine: 2008 Montgras Ninquen Antu Cabernet Sauvignon)

Dessert: Mousse with strawberries and cream with chocolate ganache vanilla, fresh berries and coconut strawberry sorbet (selected wine: 2008 Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora)

TEAM 7: Netherlands – Chef Guido Panjer (representing Europe-Central)

Starter: Pate of cepes and leeks, served with a role of bolet and hazelnut; cake of olives and parmesan cheese, sweet & sour baby paksoy and cream of black truffle (selected wine: 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc)

Fish: terrine of halibut, lobster and carrot served with halibut etuvee (quick braising), couscous and cream of cauliflower, soybean and hollandaise sauce (selected wine: 2009 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay)

Main: Wagyu sirloin, Wagyu brisket with Dutch apple syrup, roast red onion, eggplant, beetroot, potato pin and sauce bordelaise (selected wine: 2008 Montgras Ninquen Antu Cabernet Sauvignon)

Dessert: Strawberry mousse with macaroons, creme suisse, strawberry yogurt ice cream (selected wine: 2008 Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora)

As you can all imagine, all 28 dishes were scrumptious  but only one chef would be crowned “the World’s Best” at the Saturday night evening President’s Gala dinner.  But before honouring the title of  1st place, I had to get  up on the podium to announce the winner of the “Best Wine Match” competition. And it was my pleasure to announce that Tobias MacDonald of Canada was the winner. His points you ask? 185/200 and the closest was Norway with 178.5/200. And of course he had a smile when I offered him a bottle of Paradise Ranch Riesling Icewine as a congratulatory prize (as if he had never had it before).

As the final hour approached I had already rated all the finalists. My top 3 choices were Netherlands(in 3rd) and then either Canada or Norway battling it for the top place. I had difficulty choosing for both had great possibilities. So it was a bit of a disappointment when they announced:


2nd PLACE: UAE (I had put UAE in 4th place)


I congratulated Tobias of getting 3rd in the world (no mean feat) but I could tell he was disappointed as he was hoping for the grand prize and then went over to congratulate Geir on a very wonderful accomplishment. Just before all 7 finalists went on stage I had offered Geir my second bottle of Paradise Ranch Riesling Icewine as I had rated his dessert wine match the best of the competition.

With the end of the evening, we all drifted back to our hotels where we took some time to say our goodbyes to old and new friends. WACS 2012 will be a memorable experience thus allowing this sommelier to continuously realize how wonderful, tasty and delicious the world of wine and food can be.

To all the chefs the world over and to WACS, THANK YOU!!

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