The culinary team at The Brennity at Vero Beach kicked it up a notch in the kitchen with a creative challenge. Lead by Culinary Director, Antonio Smith, all nine cooks were divided into a Red and Blue team to compete in an Iron Chef contest on March 26. The challenge, inspired by the Travel Around the World theme of the month, was to feature dishes from Spain, Asia, Italy and Jamaica.
Two weeks before the competition, each team created four dishes, one from each culture, and prepared them for residents to enjoy in a Red and Blue buffet, but the real judges would determine which team would taste victory. Passing the first round of taste testers, the cooks were confident in their culinary creation and ready for competition day.
The panel of four judges representing the Culinary Institute of Treasure Coast and Sagora together with about 70 residents gathered on the patio to cheer on the Red and Blue teams as the contest began. Teams had one hour to prepare all four dishes plus an added challenge of incorporating a secret ingredient for each culture. Asia – sweet chili sauce, Jamaica – Chayote squash, Spain – Serrano ham, Italy – Mascarpone cheese. Red and Blue sliced, diced and grilled right down to the last moments before the timer expired.
Scoring each team’s dishes for taste, presentation, and originality, the judges chose a Jamaican dish created by the Red team as the winner. The Caribbean Blackened Shrimp Salad with Mango Lime Dressing featured sweet flavors of the island with a spicy twist making the chayote squash a mouthwatering accompaniment to this award-winning dish.
Chef Antonio wanted to make sure each team was rewarded for their hard work and ingenuity, so each member of the Blue team won $25, and the winning Red team members won $50 each.
This first annual event was a huge success in encouraging the cooks to unleash their creative side and giving residents an exciting way to travel around the world.