Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chefs of the coast

Where has this month gone to?!  For me, this month has been a whirlwind of activity!  I just got back from  Biloxi, Mississippi and I have a LOT to blog about! This past weekend 23-26 September 2011, I had the awesome, amazing experience of traveling to Biloxi, Mississippi where I was able to attend the Chefs of the Coast events.  I spent the greater part of Friday traveling from Tampa, Florida to Biloxi, Mississippi where my adventures began! 
I checked into the IP Biloxi and once I was settled in began to explore the Biloxi area.  It only took a short time for me to fall in love w/ this charming city that's situated on the Gulf of Mexico.  While I could go on and on about how nice Biloxi was, my blog pertains to food not travel, thus I'll have to forego any travel commentary. You will have to forgive me for any blurry pictures, I was using a brand new camera (and some I took while driving...Shhhh!!!!).

Saturday I headed out to Mississippi Coastal Convention Center and started out with the Stockpot cookoff. 
Admittedly there was a slight delay with the admission, but even tho there was a hiccup with the tickets, the delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I ended up meeting Kris Erickson, an Allrecipes employee!

Some of the samplings were simply amazing, while some left me thinking "Have you ever used herbs" mainly b/c of an over pronounced saltiness.  I had the chance to try a bread pudding and thinking that I would return for dessert later, politely declined.  I was disappointed with myself when Kris asked me if I tried it, I said no, and he said it was all gone!   In this case dessert should have come first!

I'm always the type of person to gravitate towards the unusual.  In the case of the winners I picked two of them.  The chef from the Island View Casino made an incredible Shrimp, Corn, and Coconut Soup w/ Roasted Poblanos. I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to describe just how amazing it tasted.  Fortunately he said he would email the recipe to me (and I'm hoping he does!)  I managed to snag a few recipes from the stockpot cookoffs, and my thanks to those who provided them to me!!!

I had a great time at the Stockpot cookoff, they had some kid friendly activities, and I even got to decorate a cookie...everyone go "oooohhh and ahhhhh"!!!  Please no "ewws" or "boos" ;-) )

One of the most amazing things to see was the ice carving - it's amazing how a huge slab of ice can be transformed into a cool work of art (no pun intended).  Fortunately I got video as well as pictures :D

Both ice sculptures were later used at the Venetian Carnival Gala on Sunday night.

Saturday evening I returned again for the Southern Gaming Casino Cookoff between four chefs.  I was able to sample a variety of dishes and while there were three that I greatly enjoyed, there was one dish that seemed sub-par. 

Admittedly I'm a foodie and at worst I'm a food snob.  While I may not have a culinary degree I would put myself up against the least favourite selection and I'm confident that I could make some mouths water, and some tummies happy!

Blackened Neptune
Chef Glen Chapman Casino Aztar

Tarragon & Chive crusted Chilean Sea Bass
served w/ shoepeg corn maque choux and
fresh popcorn shoots "Four roses bourbon"
and miso sause w/ fennel and tomato
Chef Chris Poplin IP Casino Resort & Spa

Grilled Maine Lobster served w/
Four roses bourbon & Mary Jane candy
glaze, Blistered pineapple, and Andouille
Saffron Grits Cake
Chef Abel Vergara Seminole Casino at
Coconut Creek, FL

Baked Fresh Flounder filled w/ shrimp and
crabmeat served w/ four roses bourbon-cream
sauce w/ Saffron rice and Julienned fresh veggies
Chef Gunter Kilian DiamondJacks Casino Resort

So after seeing those fancy plates, after the judges tasted the food, the winners were as follows: Chef Poplin (1st place) Chef Gunter Kilian (2nd place) Chef Abel Vergara (3rd place) and Chef Glen Chapman (4th place).   Following the cookoff it was back to the IP and the Chill lounge for the after party :)  I waited until the following night for a photo op b/c that place was hopping! I didn't get to sleep until 0600 on Sunday morning!!!!

Venetian Carnival Gala!!!

Myself, Kris Erickson (Allrecipes employee) and Brad Orrison ( The Shed BBQ )

This event was MORE than what I even expected!!!  This event was complete w/ music, dancing, wine tastings, raffle drawings for various prizes, Ice sculpture displays, cake displays, food art displays, and all sorts of food samplings like Steak Bruschetta, Ginger Soy chicken skewers, Chilled crab shooters, Veal Milano, Bloody mary shrimp, Lobster Quesadillas, Blackened snapper over garlic cheese grits, Catfish tacos, Shrimp gumbo, Sushi, etc., all sorts of yummy desserts like White chocolate mousse w/ Grand Marnier, Amaretto & Tiramisu Gelato, Chocolate mousse, Carrot cake, Vanilla Bean Cream Brulee....OH and free cocktails courtesy of Four Roses Bourbon. Some of you reading this may think it's similar to Epcots food and wine fest...not even close!  This event was SO much more!!! If you live in the Biloxi/Gulfport areas, you OWE it to yourself to attend the next event!

1 Dozen Red roses that I got to take home w/ me!

Lighthouse Cake
Food art

White Chocolate mousse w/ Grand Marnier

Pork Tacos

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee


Although I had tickets for two people for each event, I didn't have anyone that was interested in attending w/ me, and so on the last night, I instructed the gentleman taking the tickets that he could give away my ticket on the condition that the recipient was either in the military or retired from the military. Later that evening he came up to me to let me know that he had been able to give my complimentary ticket away. I'll never know who the individual was that received the complimentary ticket, but I hope whoever it was had an amazing time like I did!!!

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I am a voluntary Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador and I do not receive compensation for my work with Any product received is only used for experience-based reviews on The Daily Gourmet. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole opinions of Sarah.

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