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Your Challenge- Experience ExpoCulinaria 2012

Fri, Sep 7th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Arts & Culture

“Bring it to the table,” is not just an engaging command or culinary taste bud invitation, but it will also prove an entertaining challenge for the upcoming professional chef cook-off in Rushford, MN. At the feature September 22nd attraction of ExpoCulinaria—An Experience in Taste, two “seasoned” chef’s talents and knowledge will be put to the fire under the big top in downtown Rushford as they create an array of scrumptious appetizers, entrees and desserts. Utilizing an unknown pantry of food and surprise ingredients in a limited amount of time, the chefs will vie for top honors and prizes from a panel of judges. The winner must achieve the highest point score for presentation, creativity and taste.

Returning to defend his 2011 winner title is Chef Douglas Dahlgren of LaCrosse, WI. Dahlgren attended the Art Institutes International Minnesota in Minneapolis, receiving an Associate’s degree in the Culinary Arts. While attending school, Dahlgren worked professionally at Barbette in uptown Minneapolis. Here he learned the importance of working with local farmers, and how to utilize local and seasonal ingredients in his menus. After graduation in 2005, Dahlgren began working at Signatures Restaurant in Winona, MN as a line cook, quickly working his way up through the ranks; Lead Line Cook, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, to the title of Executive Chef. He is currently Executive Chef at Culina Mariana Café at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse. Dahlgren believes fully in the farm to table concept by educating the public about where their food comes from. Also that we all have a responsibility in supporting our local economy by buying as much as we possibly can locally. Dahlgren doesn’t see this as a fad, but an ethical obligation. Chef Dahlgren’s approach to food, “Start with good fresh seasonal ingredients, animals raised by people you know, and do as little as possible to mess it up.”

His 2012 competitor Chef Steven Burdey grew up in Green Bay, WI, and studied Education at Concordia University in Milwaukee, WI. In the midst of his book studies, Chef Burdey came to the realization of his love of and the desire to create with food. Chef Burdey has 25 years of restaurant experience, studying under Chef Kevin Cassidy of Currents Restaurant in Alma, WI. Most recently Chef Burdey studied with Chef Laurie Farley at Kate and Gracie’s Restaurant also in Alma, specializing in pastas and cheesecake. He is currently serving as Chef at Perkins Restaurant in Winona, MN and serving as Consultant and Chef at Awakenings Coffee House also in Winona, MN. Newly married, Burdey lives in Rushford with his wife Kristin and children Annika, Gabe and Isaac. In his spare time, and at the encouragement of his wife, Burdey recently took on a role in Rushford’s 2012 RASA theatrical production ‘You Can’t Take it with You’. Burdey may well be hoping to prove he can take the winning prize with him. This busy Chef says, “I am excited and ready to take on the challenge of ExpoCulinaria 2012.”

Gastronomic temptations for your pleasure can be sampled throughout downtown Rushford during the course of the 5-8 pm evening event. Included will be ethnic fare at Norsland Lefse including tasty lefse appetizers, Uffda Chips, specialty cheese and pastry samples and Spring Grove soda. The Creamery Pizza & Ice Cream will serve out flavorful pizza options, scrumptious cheesecake, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream samples, 1919 Root Beer and specialty wine. At Shawnee’s Bar & Grill you will delight on scrumptious tenderloin tips and specialty beverages, while Stumpy’s Restaurant and Bar will serve up their awesome deep dish pizzas, yummy cucumber ranch appetizers and specialty beer and wine.

While devouring the jazz and mix music of Swing Inc. on the patio at Lynndyn Bridge Restaurant, don’t miss the luscious fun inside the banquet room at the Wine and Beer Tasting offered by Pam’s Off-Sale Liquor and area vendors. Additional lip-smacking selections will include cheeses and breads by Rushford Foods, savory scones, fabulous dessert and coffees by the Feed Mill Café-The Hoiland Mill, zesty Raspberry Chicken and Chicken Quesadillas by Lynndyn Bridge Restaurant, delectable cakes by Brenda Falkowski and Chelsea Lind, and a yummy chocolate fountain for fruit dipping.

Rushford Foods IGA is planning exclusive ExpoCulinaria giveaways at their store, including a special coupon offer and best of all, one spin on the “Wheel of Gold” for prizes and cash. While you watch others take their chance, enjoy samples of their own in-store crafted meatball specialties.

ExpoCulinaria door prize drawings for ticket holders, including a chance to win a Weber Grill, will be awarded during the evening.

Tickets on sale now are limited. You may purchase your tickets in advance from any of the participating Rushford business vendors, which include the restaurants, Rushford Foods or Pam’s Off-Sale Liquor, or by visiting the website: www.chamber@rushfordchamber.com Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Don’t miss the fun. See you there!

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