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ExpoCulinaria, a lip-smackig event - you be the Judge

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Village Arts & Culture

By Team ExpoCulinaria

Saturday, September 7 is circled on calendars and hungry culinary fans are getting their tickets early for the 2013 ExpoCulinaria—an experience of taste in Rushford, Minn. Relished from the sellout success of 2012, ExpoCulinaria is on entertainment menus from 4-8 p.m., rain or shine. Located in downtown Rushford in the beautiful Rushford-Peterson Valley, the location is idyllic for an energetic and fun-filled, scrumptious array of events. The evening promises to be brimming with sampling and strolling through participating restaurants and businesses, a wine and beer tasting, live jazz music and a chef competition. The highly anticipated gastronomic experience will also coincide with the 1 September weekend of ‘Taste of the Trail,’ which highlights the cities of Rushford, Rushford Village and Houston on the Root River Trail System.

The delectable big top show of the evening will be the Chef Challenge, ‘Bring It’ to the Table.’ The culinary competition is between two professional chefs who will create mouthwatering appetizer, entrée and dessert plates that will utilize surprise ingredients. 2013 will be ‘the battle of the women chefs.’ The chef’s plates will be sampled and judged on a point-scale for presentation, creativity and taste by a panel of three guest judges.

Meet ExpoCulinaria judge number one. Marilyn Block of Goodview, Minn. maintains ‘hobby’ employment as Food Correspondent for Winona Daily News and serves as a Food Demonstrator for Winona Hy-Vee. She has served as Baked Goods Superintendent at the Winona County Fair from 1992 – 2010; being honored to be placed in the Hall of Fame and serving as King and Queen at the fair with her husband Alton. The couple is parents to three, grandparents to 10 and great-grandparents to five. ‘I have always loved working with food and creating many new recipes. Cookbooks have been my biggest joy of reading material. This love of food has led me into heading and assisting with the publishing of numerous recipe books throughout our area. I have had the privilege of baking many wedding, birthday, and theme cakes and cookies for family, friends and factory working gals who didn’t have the time.’

Block has entered recipes in Taste of Home, Recipes to Warm the Heart from the Heart of America, volumes one, two and three, and has also attained blue ribbon winners from State and County fairs. In addition, she has hosted many dairy contests for the American Dairy Association and a judged a number of contests. ‘I have enjoyed visiting with so many cooks and learning new tips and of course new recipes. In retirement I have met a number of online cooks across the U.S.A. Some have sent recipes from as far away as Germany. What great fun!’

The second judge will be Chef Steven Burdey. Burdey grew up in Green Bay, Wis., and studied Education at Concordia University in Milwaukee, Wis. In the midst of his book studies, he came to the realization of his love of and the desire to create with food. Burdey has 26 years of restaurant experience, studying under Chef Kevin Cassidy of Currents Restaurant in Alma, Wis. Burdey studied with Chef Laurie Farley at Kate and Gracie’s Restaurant also in Alma, specializing in pastas and cheesecake. He has served as Chef at Perkins Restaurant in Winona, Minn. and as Consultant and Chef at Awakenings Coffee House also in Winona.

Burdey competed in the 2012 ExpoCulinaria Chef Competition. In March 2013, he and his wife Kristin purchased a restaurant in Peterson, Minn. and opened Burdey’s Café. Tasty samplings from their café will also be available during the 2013 event. States Burdey, ‘I am pleased to participate in ExpoCulinaria once again!’ He and his wife live in Rushford, Minn. with their daughter and sons. In addition, Burdey is a member of the Rushford Area Chamber of Commerce and serves as vice-president of Rushford Area Society of the Arts.

Returning from the 2012 judging panel, judge number three is Mike Machutt. With a passion for visiting the Napa Valley and a dream to grow grapes and make Napa-style wines of their own, Machutt along with his wife Kim created Tower Ridge Vineyard in the Root River Valley near Rushford. The adventure began in 2005 when the Machutts purchased a 60-acre parcel that showed great promise. In 2007, they began planting different varietals and experimenting with different trellising systems. In 2009 they expanded the vineyard to include two additional varietals and in 2011 harvested their first grape crop. Machutt began experimenting with crafting wines in 2012 and hopes to begin selling wine as well as his grapes in 2014.

Machutt’s career started with the US Air Force in the mid-70s. He then began a 20-year career with IBM in Texas followed by a five year stint heading up software development for a software technology start-up company. In 2003, he left the technology world to return to another passion, flying airplanes. Machutt is currently an airline Captain for United Express and based in Chicago. When he’s not flying or working in the vineyard, his alter ego lives in the culinary world. Machutt loves to create elaborate five-course dinners, accompanied by the appropriate wines, for his friends and family. He describes his cuisine as, ‘Classic American with a west coast influence.’ Machutt loves to work in the kitchen or on the grill and brings a unique perspective to the ExpoCulinaria of 2013.

A feast for the ears, CBB Jazz Combo will greet you on the patio at Lynndyn Bride Restaurant. ‘We are off-shoots with good looks and great standards, performing enjoyable music. And all that jazz! We’ve been involved in music all of our lives and we are longtime members of the Chatfield Brass Band,’ says the band. Members of the Chatfield Brass Band formed this group in 2011 and decided to bring some “jazzy” swing tunes to venues around the area. They do “classic big band music”, thus the name CBB Jazz Combo which includes some blues and bebop. It’s an easy going, fun group of guys who have been playing music for many years and find the variety of jazz standards and improvising fun and challenging.

After the ExpoCulinaria events the evening will still be young. Patrons are encouraged to dine at downtown restaurants and relish the music, such as that by Chris Von Arx at Stumpy’s Restaurant and Bar.

Tour the ExpoCulinaria Facebook page for more details and 2012 highlights. Tickets are now on sale and are limited. You may purchase your tickets in advance at Rushford Foods or by Paypal by visiting www.chamber@rushfordchamber.com.

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