MSV TOP KNIFE WINNER CHEF JASON SELF
The Mainstreet Ventures (MSV) Top Knife competition is a live cook-off competition between MSV restaurants showcasing uniquely styled dishes based on taste, plating and presentation. Each competitor earned their spot to be at the competition by first competing against their peers at their local MSV restaurant with their unique entrée. 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.
Each participant brings a very unique and creative entrée to the table. The judges rate competitors ultimately on the creativity, taste and presentation of the entrée as well as a series of factors such as if the item was executable during peak business hours, if it was food cost appropriate, and if the contestant met safety and sanitation standards. The winning items will soon be placed on concept-appropriate MSV restaurant menus.
This year’s MSV Top Knife competition was held on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Washtenaw Community College – Culinary Arts Department in Ann Arbor, Mich. The MSV Top Knife winner was Chef Jason Self from Real Seafood Company Ann Arbor. Chef Jason’s Top Knife winning entrée was Crispy Black Bass; crispy sautéed black bass served atop honey-soy glazed sweet potato hash and finished with a kimchi tartar sauce, served with lightly fried haricots verts and garnished with wasabi vinaigrette.
Chef Jason is the head chef at the Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor, Mich. Chef Jason’s entrée will soon be featured on all Real Seafood Company menus. Chef Jason also received the MSV Top Knife Award plaque, which will displayed for one year at the Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition to bragging rights, Jason won a cash prize and a special knife.
MSV Corporate Executive Chef Brent Courson, also a judge at the event, said “our Top Knife competition continues to be an outstanding event that gives our chefs and staff an opportunity to let their creativity shine through in this highly competitive event and the winners have the pride of getting their entrees featured in our restaurants.”
MSV TOP KNIFE AWARD WINNERS
MSV Top Knife
Chef Jason Self, Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Crispy Black Bass
Description: Crispy sautéed black bass served atop honey-soy glazed sweet potato hash and finished with a kimchi tartar sauce, served with lightly fried haricots verts and garnished with wasabi vinaigrette.
Chef Paul Cerveny, Real Seafood Company in Toledo, Ohio
Maple Bacon Salmon
Description: Broiled North Atlantic salmon served atop a bed of maple-bacon infused risotto and finished with mushroom butter, accompanied by sautéed carrots and fennel.
Most Cutting Edge Entrée
Ashley Loader, Revolution Grille in Toledo, Ohio
Short Rib Stroganoff
Description: Tender beef short ribs with ricotta and egg yolk filled ravioli in a rich mushroom sauce, finished with crème fraiche and fresh thyme leaves.
So Good it Stands Alone
Ashley Begovich, EO Burgers in Dayton, Ohio
Bruschetta Burger with Zucchini Fritte
Description: 100% USDA Prime burger served on a toasted ciabatta roll with fresh pesto, bruschetta, banana peppers and mozzarella cheese, served with lightly fried zucchini wedges and a fresh lemon aioli.
The judges rated competitors on whether the entrée was concept appropriate, executable during peak business and food cost appropriate, as well as if the contestant met safety and sanitation standards, and ultimately on the creativity, taste and presentation of the entrée. The Mainstreet Ventures judges were: Executive Chef Brent Courson, Director of Operations Kevin Gudejko, Corporate Administrator Stephanie Teague, Washtenaw Community College Culinary Arts Faculty Members Cheryl Hanewich, Derek Anders and Chris Troiano.
- Carson’s American Bistro, Ann Arbor, Mich., Rob Peammon with his Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
- Ciao!, Sylvania, Ohio, Adam Cane with his entrée Salmon with Bourbon Sauce
- EO Burgers, Dayton, Ohio, Ashley Begovich with her entrée Bruschetta Burger with Zucchini Fritte
- Gratzi, Ann Arbor, Mich., Rob Steger with his entrée Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna
- Real Seafood Co. Ann Arbor, Mich., Chef Jason Self with his entrée Crispy Black Bass
- Real Seafood Co., Toledo, Ohio, Chef Paul Cerveny with his entrée Maple Bacon Salmon
- Revolution Grille, Toledo, Ohio, Ashley Loader with her entrée Short Rib Stroganoff
- The Chop House, Ann Arbor, Mich., Jeff Basta with his entrée Filet with Squash, Zucchini and Quinoa
- The Chop House, Annapolis, Md., Trevor Bell with his entrée Herb Roasted Rack of Lamb
- Zia’s, Toledo, Ohio, Ashley Marsh with his entrée Chicken Parmesan with Country Style Gravy
Thank you to all of our competitors for making this a very exciting MSV Top Knife competition and bringing new ideas to the table!