Main Street Ventures, with several popular restaurants in Toledo, recently held its annual Top Knife competition, a live cook-off among its restaurants.
Chef Jason Self from Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor won with Crispy Black Bass, crispy sautéed black bass served atop honey-soy glazed sweet potato hash and finished with a kimchi tartar sauce, served with lightly fried green beans and garnished with wasabi vinaigrette. Toledo chefs were honored in the following categories:
Honorable Mention: Chef Paul Cerveny, from Real Seafood Company, with Maple Bacon Salmon: Broiled North Atlantic salmon served atop a bed of maple-bacon infused risotto and finished with mushroom butter, accompanied by sautéed carrots and fennel.
Most Cutting Edge Entrée: Ashley Loader, from Revolution Grille, with Short Rib Stroganoff: Tender beef short ribs with ricotta and egg yolk filled ravioli in a rich mushroom sauce, finished with crème fraiche and fresh thyme leaves.
Any Main Street Ventures employee - not just the head chefs - may compete in this contest, proving the adage from the movie “Ratatouille” that “Anyone can cook.” Competitors must win at their local establishments first, before heading to the final Top Knife event.
MSV Corporate Executive Chef Brent Courson, a judge at the event, said “our Top Knife competition continues to be an outstanding event that gives our chefs and staff an opportunity to let their creativity shine through in this highly competitive event and the winners have the pride of getting their entrees featured in our restaurants.” Chef Jason’s entrée will soon be featured on all Real Seafood Company menus. He also received the MSV Top Knife Award plaque, which will displayed for one year at the Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor, as well as a cash prize and a special Chef’s knife.
The other Top Knife judges were MSV Director of Operations Kevin Gudejko and Corporate Administrator Stephanie Teague, as well as Washtenaw Community College Culinary Arts Faculty Members Cheryl Hanewich, Derek Anders, and Chris Troiano. The judges rated competitors on whether the entrée was concept appropriate, executable during peak business, and food cost appropriate; safety and sanitation standards were also a factor. But ultimately, the primary considerations were creativity, taste, and presentation of the entrée.
Ashley Marsh of Zia’s, in Toledo, also competed with his entrée Chicken Parmesan with Country Style Gravy.