A Look Back at Hop Chef 2012

Ommegang Hop Chef logo

As we gear up to announce the HOP CHEF 2013 circuit, let’s take a walk down memory lane to remember the good time we had last year…

Hop Chef 2012 came to a climax in Cooperstown this summer with a cook-off at Brewery Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Beer Festival. The winners of three regional competitions, came together to face the Tommy Harder, Grand Prize winner of Hop Chef’s 2011 Mussel Tussle. The competitors; Washington, DC Champion Jeff Eng of Tower Oaks Lodge, Albany Champion Jaime Ortiz of Mazzone Hospitality and Philadelphia Champion George Sabatino of Stateside each won their individual Ommegang pairing competitions.

Hop Chef 2012 Regional Winners: George Sabatino of Philadelphia (L), Jaime Ortiz of Albany (M) and Jeff Eng of Washington, D.C. (R)

Hop Chef 2012 Regional Winners: George Sabatino of Philadelphia (L), Jaime Ortiz of Albany (M) and Jeff Eng of Washington, D.C. (R)

The Hop Chef DC competition took place in Mayat the Atlas where Jeff Eng’s winning dish was “Surf and Turf”; a plate of uni and beer braised oxtail roe that he paired with Hennepin. He followed this with his winning dessert; a chocolate hazelnut crunch bar, coke and pop rocks which he paired with Three Philosophers

Hop Chef Albany took place on June 8th at the North Pearl Events Center where over 200 attendees dined on gourmet food and beer pairings. Chef Jaime Ortiz captivated both the crowd and judges with his dish “Rare of the Dog” which featured faux egg shooters of custard and spices, in a shooter of Rare Vos with a honey thyme bacon chaser.

Hop Chef Philadelphia determined the final competitor at the sold out event: George Sabatino of Stateside for his Smoked Beef Cheek Lettuce Wrap with Ommegang Abbey Dubbel BBQ sauce, watermelon rind pickle and beer boiled peanuts along with his dessert Three Philosophers with Head to Tail Cherries.

During the final Hop Chef showdown the competing chefs each created one dish to harmonize with the tasting notes of Brewery Ommegang’s core ales. The final dishes were judged by Will Blunt -Managing Editor of StarChefs.com, Todd Coleman – Executive Food Editor of SAVEUR Magazine, Jimmy Carbone – Owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 in NYC, Phil Leinhart – Brewmaster of Brewery Ommegang and Andrew Curren- Head Chef of Easy Tiger and 24 Diner in Austin, TX.

Working side-by-side under one tent during a hot July day, these chefs produced five incredible dishes for the ticket-holders and judges to determine Hop Chef 2012’s Grand Prize Winner.

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George Sabatino took home the gold with his dish edging out a very competitive crew, pairing Rare Vos Amber Ale with a a smoke capon sausage and Rare Vos mustard, white beans, and tomato-olive tapenade. The sausage, marinated in Rare Vos, was handmade in Philadelphia before taking the trip to Cooperstown for the BCTC showdown.

Look out for more news here on the plan for Hop Chef 2013.  We may just be coming to your town.

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