MSV Top Knife 2018

MSV Top Knife Winner Chef Dan Gawura from Gratzi, Ann Arbor, Mich.!

Congratulations to this year’s Mainstreet Ventures (MSV) Top Knife winner Chef Dan Gawura with his entrée Seared Chilean Seabass with fried asiago risotto cake, roasted tomato broth, butter braised Brussels sprouts!

MSV President & CEO Mike Gibbons with 2018 MSV Top Knife Winner Chef Dan Gawura from Gratzi, Ann Arbor, MI

The Mainstreet Ventures (MSV) Top Knife is an annual live cook-off competition between MSV restaurants showcasing uniquely styled dishes based on taste, presentation and creativity. Each MSV Top Knife competitor earned their spot to be at the competition by first competing against their peers at their local MSV restaurant with their unique dish. After winning in their own local market, each top competitor then qualified to compete against each other for the overall coveted title of the MSV Top Knife.

This year’s final competition for the MSV Top Knife was held on Monday, January 15, 2018 at Zia’s Italian restaurant in Toledo, Ohio. The event included VIP judges helping to select the overall MSV Top Knife winner and the cost to attend was $100 per person (all inclusive) with a portion of event proceeds to benefit Tutor Smart of Toledo.

All the competitors earned their right to compete at this year’s MSV Top Knife event. Each entrée produced from this event represents a unique culinary creation. Anyone who works at an MSV restaurant can participate in the competition at the local level, however, based on the dish, only a select few qualify to compete at the MSV Top Knife event and only one person is awarded the top honors of MSV Top Knife. The end result of this event produces inspired cuisine that we can literally bring to the table.

Over 80 VIP judges enjoyed a 9-course tasting of each competitor’s unique dish from the qualifying MSV Top Knife competitors, including dessert. Each judge rated each dish based on taste, presentation and creativity. At the end of the event, the judges ranked their top three competitors on a final scorecard. All scorecards were collected and results were tabulated to determine the first, second and third place winning dish.

Chef Dan’s entrée will soon be featured on select menus in the Mainstreet Ventures distinctive eateries. In addition to the top honors as MSV Top Knife, Chef Dan also received a Wüsthof Gourment Chef’s Knife and $1,500 cash. Cash prizes were also awarded to the top three winners.

MSV TOP KNIFE AWARDS

FIRST PLACE WINNER!

Chef Dan Gawura
Gratzi, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Seared Chilean Seabass
fried asiago risotto cake, roasted tomato broth, butter braised Brussels sprouts
Chef Dan’s Seared Chilean Seabass will soon be placed on restaurant menus at: Gratzi in Ann Arbor, Mich.,  Stillwater Grill in Brighton, Mich., and Ciao! in Toledo, Ohio, and new restaurant Gratzi in Midland, Mich.

Chef Dan Gawura

Seared Chilean Seabass

SECOND PLACE WINNER

Adam Cane, Chef
Palio, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Seared Scallops
pancetta, spaghetti cacio e pepe, ginger chile broth, poached egg

Adam Cane

Seared Scallops

THIRD PLACE WINNER

Brittney Hagan, Bartender/Server
Zia’s, Toledo, Ohio
Kale and Cream Cheese Stuffed Pork Chop
sweet potato hash, apple carrot slaw

Brittney Hagan

Kale and Cream Cheese Stuffed Pork Chop

HONORABLE MENTION

Taylor Hoener, Dining Room Supervisor
Palio, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Meringue Cake
buttercream, raspberries, spun sugar

Taylor Hoener

Meringue Cake

CHALLENGING COMPETITORS

Tim Nuckels, Chef
Stillwater Grill, Brighton, Mich.
Seared Sea Scallops
parmesan risotto, red king crab and brussels sprout salad, champagne beurre blanc

Tim Nuckels

Seared Sea Scallops

Aaron Musinski, Chef
Real Seafood Co., Bay City, Mich.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
served in the shell, grilled broccolini

Aaron Musinski

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Nick Watts, Sous Chef
Gratzi, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Toasted Pistachio and Ricotta Gnocchi
roasted carrots, pancetta, cherries, shallots, and a maple bourbon cherry gastrique topped with toasted pistachio ricotta

Nick Watts

Toasted Pistachio and Ricotta Gnocchi

Bob Bolling, Dining Room Supervisor
Carson’s, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Moroccan Braised Lamb Porterhouse
roasted root vegetables, balsamic and goat cheese

Bob Bolling

Moroccan Braised Lamb Porterhouse

Dakota Hughes, Line Cook
Stillwater Grill, Okemos, Mich.
Pan Seared Filet
garlic butter sauce, ratatouille vegetables, rosemary mashed potatoes

Dakota Hughes

Pan Seared Filet

Thank you to all the participants, judges and team members for another successful MSV Top Knife event!

View The Blade’s article by Mary Bilyeu here! 

Photo Album