Seven talented yacht chefs kicked off the Newport Charter Yacht Show on June 21 when they competed in the Chef Competition with their take on the “Luxurious Comfort” theme.
Each chef created two versions of the same entry — one for an adult palate and the other for a child’s palate. Shoreside Support sponsored the event and provided the mystery basket ingredients. Taste counted for 40 percent, presentation was 30 percent, and creativity and originality were 10 percent, while use of ingredients provided accounted for 10 percent. Plus, chefs had to incorporate a special dietary requirement (five percent) and give a table presentation about their choices (five percent).
Chef Brittany Garcia
Chef Brittany Garcia of M/Y QTR impressed the judges with her Bolivian Tamales and Alfredo Tacos for the kids. Due to her tableside presentation — where she smoked her dish with the spruce tips — which was peppered with personal stories that inspired her dishes, the three judges praised her for the fun and flair that made it memorable. Her prizes were a cutting board, rum, and wine glass.
Chef Steph Sykora
Chef Steph Sykora of M/Y Freedom took second place with her Southern Low Country take on fish and grits. “Cheffy Stephy” clearly wowed the judges, who commented that her rhubarb jam on the kid’s plate was “the best thing ever” and that she “nailed the Luxurious Comfort theme.” She took home a cutting board, rum, and a wine glass for her second-place winnings.
Chef Alex Flannery
In the end, it was Chef Alex Flannery of the 164-foot M/Y TCB that won the hearts and stomachs of the three judges. Making up his Taco Tuesday (adult) entry was beef cheek with chipotle roasted artichoke and corn, sweet potato chips, osetra caviar, and pine cream. The children’s entry was a halibut cheek with razor clam ceviche, pickled cauliflower and rhubarb, melon, and pine cream. He went with the gluten-free dietary restriction.
Notably, the judges picked out his pickled items as one of the reasons they dubbed him the winner. As for his take on why he won, Chef Flannery told Dockwalk that he thought it helped that he had quite a few different components that showed versatility. For his creation, he made the shells, braised the meat, and pickled some items.
“My beginning inspiration was that it was Tuesday,” he says. “I really like tacos, so I had to throw that down, but I was also thinking of endless comfort and luxury, so comfort food and making comfort food luxurious. To me, tacos were perfect because it fell into that day and it’s a comforting ingredient that you can step up and make nice,” he says, adding, “It was a wonderful competition and I’m glad I was able to put something together that everybody liked. It was really fun.”
He took home a $100 gift certificate from Helly Hanson, Cutco knife, cutting board, and Gosling Rum.