Downhill dining: Chefs race to create their best dishes on the slopes
Fourteen teams representing local restaurants in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe hit the slopes at Northstar on Tuesday for the third annual Great Chef Relay Races.Teams of four employees first had to complete a relay race through a slalom course with three team members competing on skis or snowboards and one running the course on a snow bike.To kick the degree of difficulty up a notch, teams had the option of attempting to carry a tray of four shots through the course – with each spill resulting in a time penalty – or just taking the shots at the top of the course.After the on-snow racing was done, Team Sunnyside was in the lead as the teams moved on to the deck at Northstar’s Big Springs Lodge for a race against the clock, Iron Chef style.The participants were allowed to bring whatever pots, pans, stoves, cooking utensils and spices that they could fit into two backpacks, but were unaware of what mystery ingredients would be provided by Safeway until 1 p.m., when the cook-off portion of the competition began.With just one hour to prepare and present as many dishes as they saw fit, many teams came up with some creative and delicious options.Cindy McTammany, a sous chef at the High Sierra Grille, broke down her team’s strategy going into the cooking phase of the competition:”It’s all mental. It’s all about preparation. You’ve got to have your food prepped and you’ve got to have your head prepped.”When the hour was up the judges had made their selections, the team from Moody’s Bistro & Lounge in Truckee was declared the winner of the cooking portion of the event.But after all the plates were cleared and the scores were added up, the crew from Northstar’s own Cippolini’s Pizzeria took the grand prize and the trophy.”The whole event was wonderful,” said spectator Andrea Cohen of Incline Village. “Because everyone was pumped and everyone was happy and the chocolate was great. As a spectator I’m having a great time.”
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