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Contact:
Haley Messner
San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival
619-312-1212
messner@fastforwardevents.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHEF MARK KROPCZYNSKI OF GRANT GRILL CROWNED “CHEF OF THE FEST” AT THE 2016 SAN DIEGO BAY WINE + FOOD FESTIVAL®


Grilled Lamb Loins Take Home Top Honors and Shared Purse Of Over $50,000 In Cash And Prizes At Lexus Grand Tasting During Southern California’s Largest Food and Wine Festival

San Diego, CA (November 23, 2016) – In conjunction with the American Culinary Federation (ACF), the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival ® announces the winners of this year’s Chef of the Fest Competition. The annual competition brings top San Diego chefs head-to-head in a fierce culinary competition judged by the San Diego Chapter of ACF along with guest judges.

This year’s Chef of the Fest title went to Chef Mark Kropczynski of Grant Grill located in the U.S. Grant Hotel for his dish, “Grilled Lamb Loin with Pumpkin Seed Oil and Fig Vincotto.” San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival® co-producer, Michelle Metter calls the competition the perfect conclusion to the weeklong food and wine classic.

“The Chef of the Fest competition continues to showcase San Diego’s outstanding chefs, talent, and unique style of cooking,” continued Metter. “Year after year, the level of culinary artisanship by the participating chefs astonishes at the Lexus Grand Tasting, and we congratulate all of this year’s competitors on a spectacular showcase of the finest culinary talent in San Diego.”

Each year, the San Diego Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, a professional organization of chefs and culinarians, judges the Chef of the Fest Competition. The San Diego Chapter Secretary, Chef Katherine Emmenegger, was lead coordinator of the judging process. Five guest judges joined in responsibilities, Chef of the Fest Judges included:

1. Suzette Gresham – Executive Chef, Acquerello, San Francisco
2. Urs Emmenegger – Executive Chef at Casa De Manana and President of the ACF Chefs and Culinarians of San Diego
3. Dean James Max – President DJM Restaurants, James Republic
4. Nic Vanderbeeken – Executive Chef Viceroy Bali’s CasCades Restaurant
5. Chad White – Chef & Restauranteur

The 2016 Chef of the Fest Competition was judged using a blind-tasting format. Thirty-five chefs were carefully narrowed down to five finalists and five category winners using a graded point system. Participants were ranked based on cumulative scores considering the dish’s presentation, flavor, innovation, quality of product, and preparation in the allotted time.
The top five finishers, category winners and the People’s Choice Award were announced by KUSI Reporter, Brad Perry and KUSI Meteorologist, Mark Mathis. Awards were presented on Saturday, November 19 at the Lexus Grand Tasting.
The 2016 Chef of the Fest Competition results are as follows:

First Place Grand Prize Winner
Mark Kropczynski – Grant Grill
Grilled Lamb Loin | Roasted Baby Root Vegetables | Pumpkin Seed Oil | Fig Vincotto

Second Place Winner
Accursio Lota – Solare Ristorante
Californian Pistachio Mousse | Chocolate Crumb | Hazelnut Infusion

Third Place Winner
Trevor Chappell – The Barrel Room
Smoked Porchetta | Almendrado Sauce | Caramelized Pear | Peppercress | Grilled Baguette

Fourth Place Winner
Evan Cruz – Arterra Restaurant
Duck | Pear Chutney | Mustard Seeds | Mustard Frill

Fifth Place Winner
David Warner – Decoy Dockside Dining
Curried Garnet Yam | Liquid Cornbread | Pomegranate | Mustard Seeds | Shaved Fennel | Pickled Red Onions | Brown Butter Crumble | Mustard Greens

Meat Category Winner
Mark Kropczynski – Grant Grill
Grilled Lamb Loin | Roasted Baby Root Vegetables | Pumpkin Seed Oil | Fig Vincotto

Poultry Category Winner
Evan Cruz – Arterra Restaurant
Duck | Pear Chutney | Mustard Seeds | Mustard Frill

Seafood Category Winner
Aaron Thomas – AVANT Restaurant
Crispy Nori | Cured Hamachi | Salted Plum | Pickled Cucumber | Yuzu

Vegetarian / Raw Category Winner
David Warner – Decoy Dockside Dining
Curried Garnet Yam | Liquid Cornbread | Pomegranate | Mustard Seeds | Shaved Fennel | Pickled Red Onions | Brown Butter Crumble | Mustard Greens

Dessert Category Winner
Accursio Lota – Solare Ristorante
Californian Pistachio Mousse | Chocolate Crumb | Hazelnut Infusion

Cash and prizes were awarded to the Chef of the Fest competition winners, including a feature in Cooking Light magazine, a feature in Dining Out Magazine, NBC 7 Winner Profile, inclusion in San Diego Magazine, inclusion in 2017 En Bouche Magazine, $3000 in cash from the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, Guest Chef experience at the Viceroy Bali with Chef Nic Vanderbeeken, Engraved Bottle from Woodford Reserve, Hangar One and Stranhan's Gift Baskets, Engraved Riedel Decanter, Guest Chef for a Day with Rick Bayless in Chicago, IL, Vessel Premium Bag, a knife set by Rick Moonen, and one round trip airline ticket from Southwest Airlines. Additional prizes were awarded for Second through Third Place and People’s Choice.

This year’s wine and food festival also saw the return of the People’s Choice Award Presented by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles. In addition to being evaluated by the esteemed panel of judges, Chef of the Fest competitors were also subject to the critiques of Lexus Grand Tasting attendees, who had opportunity to vote for their favorite Chef of the Fest dish. Chef Brad Hightow of Florent took the “People’s Choice Award” for the second year in a row with his Short Rib tacos with roasted corn salsa, cabbage, avocado crème, and Cotija cheese.

SAN DIEGO BAY WINE + FOOD FESTIVALR
The 13th Annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival® is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods. Held November 14-20, 2016, the event benefits culinary arts and oenology scholarships awarded by Fast Forward Futures and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Over 150 wineries, breweries and spirit companies, 60 of San Diego’s top fine dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies will participate in the 2016 Festival. For more information visit www.sandiegowineclassic.com. Produced by World of Wine Events and Fast Forward Event Productions. For more information call 619-312-1212

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