MSV Top Knife 2017

Congratulations George!

George Sztroin, from Stillwater Grill in Okemos, Mich.

View our photo gallery below!

Congratulations to this year’s Mainstreet Ventures (MSV) Top Knife winner George Sztroin with his entrée Pancetta and Boursin Stuffed Chicken with corn-parmesan custard & cherry-fig mustarda.

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 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.

This year’s final competition for the MSV Top Knife was held on Thursday, January 12, 2017 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 Cherry Street Mission Ministries.

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 entrée, 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 70 VIP judges enjoyed a 9-course tasting of each competitor’s unique entrée from the qualifying MSV Top Knife competitors, including dessert.  Each judge rated each entrée 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 entrées.

George Sztroin’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, Luke also received a Wüsthof Gourment Chef’s Knife and $1,500 cash.


2017 MSV Top Knife Winner
George Sztroin, Line Cook from Stillwater Grill Okemos, Mich. Entrée of Pancetta & Boursin Stuffed Chicken with corn-parmesan custard & cherry-fig mustarda. George won the MSV Top Knife 2017, a Wüsthof Gourment Chef’s Knife and $1,500 cash.

Second Place Winner
Terry Kretz, MSV District Manager and General Manager of Ciao! Entrée of Venison Loin with herb-garlic roasted potatoes, almond roasted cauliflower, & demi-glace.
Terry won a $1,000 cash bonus.



Third Place Winner
Mark Jacobs, Server at Real Seafood Co., Toledo, Ohio.
Entrée of Crab Cake Scotch Egg Carbonara with crab, bucatini, pancetta, parmesan, cream, & spinach.
Mark won a $750 cash bonus.



Honorable Mentions
 Adam Cane, Chef at Palio Ann Arbor, Mich.
Entrée of Italian Chili Shrimp with pan-fried shrimp, Calabrian peppers, pancetta, & arugula.
Adam won a $250 cash bonus.



Alex Bannow, Pastry Supervisor from The Chop House Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dessert was Meyer Lemon Meringue Bar with lemon chips & grapefruit.
Alex won a $250 cash bonus.



Top Honors
Top honors also go to the other competitors with their entrees:
Aaron Musinski, Chef at Real Seafood Co., Bay City, Mich.
Entrée of Grilled Pork Tenderloin with grilled bourbon soaked apples, goat cheese-almond risotto & grilled squash cup.



George Meads, Line Cook at Gratzi, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Entrée of Pepper Rubbed Filet Mignon with cauliflower puree, fennel salad & chimichurri.




Alejandro Pacheco, Line Cook / Supervisor at Real Seafood Co., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Entrée of Espresso Rubbed Filet Mignon with cheesy garlic potatoes, roasted kale, poblano peppers, elote style corn & romesco sauce.



Dave Bicknell, Dining Room Manager at Stillwater Grill, Brighton, Mich.
Entrée of Braised Short Rib with potato cake, candied bacon, Sriracha hollandaise & broccolini.




We congratulate all the participants, judges and team members for another successful MSV Top Knife event.