Not knowing a thing about golden Incan berries, Team Gumtree Catering put its nearly 70 years of kitchen experience between its three chefs to good use.
Gumtree’s team of head chef Billy Sanderson, Bob Dykes and Dave Schuk used the secret ingredient well – the golden Incan berries which have a look and taste like a raisin, but evolves into a citrus-like explosion – in all five of their dishes to edge Team Italian Kitchen Company by five points in the third annual Moms Making It Happen/Nixon Wenger Iron Chef competition at Turtle Mountain Vineyards Sunday afternoon.
“Um, never,” laughed Sanderson after the competition when asked how often he’s used golden Incan berries in any of his recipes.
“Today was my first time eating an Incan berry and it was…interesting. Then the gears started turning, ‘what are we going to do, how are we going to incorporate this into everything, how are we going to make it the star of every dish.’”
Both teams had to prepare five separate dishes – appetizer, soup, salad, entrée and dessert – in 90 minutes. Each squad received a shopping bag of five bonus ingredients that could be used once, and each team had to use the secret ingredient (which was revealed 15 minutes before the competition started) in every dish or be docked five points.
And they had to do this while the capacity crowd watched their every move.
“We were within two per cent on the overall scores, so I’m quite happy overall,” said Italian Kitchen Company head chef Gerritt Shumyk, who was accompanied by Tiffany Karens and Richard Keir. “We knew we were the underdogs coming in. We knew Gumtree was going to put on a good show and we’re glad we could keep up.”
The judges were Roger Knox of The Morning Star, Brian Martin of Sun FM, Melissa Ligertwood of Castanet and Claire Sear, the Okanagan contributing editor to Eat magazine.
Audience members had a chance to become a judge during each of the five courses presented. Audience judges were Laurell Cornell, Margaret Scott, Pamela Miller, Rod Koenig and Eric Wisse.
Funds raised from the event will support the Family Resource Centre.
As of Tuesday morning, the event raised close to $2,000, and Parnell’s Appliance and Electronics donated the two ovens used in the event.
“Once again, the community support for our event has been overwhelming,” said event founder Kyla Macaulay of Gumtree Catering and Moms Making It Happen. “Everything was fantastic today. The teams made great dishes and everybody had a good time.”
Team Gumtree Catering:
APPY: Champagne-poached, pecan-crusted coho salmon with golden Incan berry glaze on top of spinach and nori salad;
SOUP: Gluten free roast cauliflower soup with a berry cassis glaze;
SALAD: Marinated heirloom tomatoes on spinach and arugula with Incan berry vinaigrette and pomme frites;
ENTREE: Roast double lamb chop stuffed with Incan berry and cassis on a yam/quinoa patty, and roast cauliflower and heirloom tomatoes;
DESSERT; Incan berry timbit including a champagne, cassis and Incan berry reduction with cinnamon foam.
Team Italian Kitchen Company:
APPY: Pan-seared jumbo scallop with satay rub, topped with Incan berry and ginger chutney which included a lot of champagne that was reduced down and on top of grated golden beets, red beets and beet greens;
SOUP: Jatjuk, a pine nut soup from Korea served at the country’s Royal Palace; contained golden Incan berries, rice, salt and pine nuts;
SALAD: Grilled endive topped with goat cheese and Incan berry reduction, garnished with julienne red peppers;
ENTREE: Wok-fried lamb on Korean noodle dish (sweet potato noodles, sesame oil, garlic and veggies), and secret sauce that incorporated secret ingredient and a little bit of beer;
DESSERT: Goat cheese parfait with fresh strawberries, basil hibiscus syrup over the top plus black current liqueur and cardamom sugar.