Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

And The Winners Are…

In Festival Highlights on September 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

…the 350+ event attendees who enjoyed 13 wonderful tomato-inspired dishes on Friday, September 24th!

Brendan Dorr, Lisa Shapiro, Ellen Kassoff Gray, Maria Alvarez & the winning "Maria & Simo's Bloody Mary"

From savory to sweet, the first annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival recipe contest finalists’ dishes showcased a variety of creative menu items.  The dishes were prepared and presented by 13 of the area’s top chefs in a festival setting at the International Trade Center & Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, DC.

The winning cocktail concoction featured jalapeno, horseradish, Old Bay, a citrus vodka and fleur de sel plus cucumber and lime ice cubes.

Taking home top prize was  Maria Alvarez for her “Maria & Simo’s Bloody Mary” recipe which was presented by Brendan Dorr of B&O American Brasserie. Runners up included Sandy Ibrahim and Maggie Sklar‘s Savory Sundried Tomato Goat Cheesecake prepared by Chef Michelle Poteaux; and, Jessica Sidman‘s Green Tomato Marbled Goat Cheese Ice Cream prepared by Chef Mike Lund.

Dorr & Alvarez

Maggie Sklar, Chef Michelle Poteaux, Sandy Ibrahim and their Savory Sundried Tomato Goat Cheesecake

Jessica Sidman, Chef Mike Lund, Ellen Kassoff Gray, Jeremy Seeley

Interpreting a home cook’s recipe and preparing it for hundreds of guests to taste presented a unique opportunity for the chefs to make inspired adjustments and enhancements to some of the recipes. As festival attendees approached each station, chefs discussed the key ingredients and preparation techniques while finalists proudly stood by and shared stories about their dish’s origin.

Reviewing and awarding points for taste, presentation, style and originality was a panel of seven distinguished judges.  The event was emceed by festival organizer Ellen Kassoff Gray and Lisa Shapiro (Dining In DC), hosted by the International Wine & Food Festival and in support of Common Good City Farm.

Looking ahead to next year’s festival, Kasoff Gray will soon make a formal announcement about the chosen “red fruit” soon along with recipe contest information, deadlines and details. Many thanks to all of the guests who were part of the first Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival!

Additional event pictures featuring many of the chefs, finalists and tantalizing tomato dishes:


Recipe Contest Finalists

In Recipe Contest on September 16, 2010 at 3:15 am

2010 Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival

Recipe Contest Finalists

Main Courses:

Mary Cunnigham’s Recipe Grilled Heirloom Tomato Pizza,

prepared by Chef Jerry Edwards

Amy Angelo’s Lasagna Stuffed Tomatoes,

prepared by Chef Beej Flamholz

April Fulton’s Tomato Tarte,

prepared by Chef Xavier Deshayes

Appetizers & Soups:

David Tarre’s Nuovo Caprese with Corn Fried Mozzarella,

prepared by Chef Todd Gray

Rosemary Laweler’s Cream of Tomato Soup with Seafood,

prepared by Chef Kaz Okochi

Olga Berman’s Roasted Tomato & Balsamico Soup,

prepared by Chef RJ Cooper

Beverages & Sauces:

Amanda Hine’s Grilled Peach with Tomato Raspberry Sauce and Basil Whipped Cream,

prepared by Chef Matt Hess

Christiana Aretta’s Green Tomato Ketchup,

prepared by Chef Aaron McCloud

Maria and Simo’s Bloody Mary,

presented by Mixologist Brendan Dorr


Mario Raymond’s Panzanella with Lemon Sorbet,

prepared by Chef John Walsh


MacKenzie Severson’s Caprese Cupcakes,

prepared by Chef Brad Spate

Jessica Sidman’s Green Tomato Marbled Goat Cheese Ice Cream,

prepared by Chef Mike Lund

Sandy Ibrahim & Maggie Sklar’s Savory Sundried Tomato Goat Cheesecake,

by Chef Michelle Poteaux

In Event Details on September 9, 2010 at 10:37 am


Tomato Recipe Contest

In Recipe Contest on September 9, 2010 at 10:15 am

As part of The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival, we held a tomato recipe contest open to food bloggers, home cooks, gardeners and tomato-enthusiasts. 

Our Featured Home Chef finalists have been paired with a top area chef who will cook their winning recipe at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival. Festival attendees will get to enjoy each of the tomato-inspired dishes paired with wine on The Woodrow Wilson Plaza among Washington DC’s most storied monuments and rich history.

Tickets to taste the winning dishes can be purchased here >

Featured Guest Chefs

In Featured Chefs on September 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

The Executive Chef at the Wine Kitchen, Matt Hess grew up in Northern Vermont where he began cooking at the age of 15. For three years Matt worked under Patrick Granigien, a classic French Chef where he honed his cooking techniques and realized his passion for fresh food. After cooking in Burlington Matt took a position in Colorado and became the Sous Chef for the Keystone Ranch restaurant under Jason Kassib. After nearly four years with the Keystone Ranch, Matt made the move back to the East Coast and joined the wine kitchen as Sous Chef. Six months into Matt’s career with the Wine Kitchen he was promoted to Executive Chef.

Matt’s interest and love for cooking has always centered around buying ingredients from local farms and for keeping his menus fresh and new. Leesburg was a natural place for Matt to continue his career as Mother Nature’s local flavors prevail in his every dish.

Learn more about all of our festival’s featured guest chefs >