Laura Chenel, the celebrated goat cheese pioneer and foodservice industry favorite, has announced the winners of the StarChefs Goat Cheese Recipe Contest. The contest encourages creativity and originality, giving chefs a chance to showcase the potential of goat cheese in fresh, flavorful, and contemporary recipes. The first-place winner gets not only bragging rights, but also a trip to Sonoma and dinner at SingleThread as a grand prize.
“As Laura Chenel celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2019, this new partnership with a leading professional chefs’ network encourages the creation of next-generation recipes at a time when diners are recognizing high-quality fresh goat cheese as a more digestible alternative to cow’s milk cheese,” commented Laura Chenel's CEO, Eric Barthome.
Chef Joe Sasto came in first place for his Goat Cheese Tart with Beet-Poached Figs. Sasto is a Los Angeles-based chef and a 2018 Top Chef contender who is well-known for his snazzy handlebar moustache and expert synthesis of California cuisine and rustic Italian style. His prize-winning entry was a classic goat cheese tart with hazelnut flour, whose nutty earthy flavors were paired with beet-poached figs, fig leaf oil, and hazelnut crunch—a savory, nostalgic take on traditional dessert cheesecakes. You can find his winning recipe here.
"I love this dish because it shows the beauty and simplicity of the goat cheese, allowing it to take center stage while also utilizing the bounty of California to accompany the dish,” Sasto said in a press release, noting a waste reduction philosophy that utilizes the dehydrated pulp from the red beet juice in the hazelnut crunch and the leaves and wood from the fig tree in the fig leaf oil.
Sasto’s grand prize includes a three-day trip to Sonoma for two, featuring a tour of Laura Chenel’s LEED Gold certified creamery and dinner at SingleThread Farm Restaurant—one of only seven California restaurants to earn three Michelin stars in 2019.
"StarChefs has a thoughtful quality-seeking community of chefs looking for great products to help them succeed,” StarChefs CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Antoinette Bruno commented. “Laura Chenel is a beautiful artisan goat cheese that couldn’t be a better match for our audience. It's no surprise that the recipe contest generated so many exciting and innovative uses of Laura Chenel goat cheese on menus from New York to California.”
Runners up include Erin Kanagy-Loux, Executive Pastry Chef for Union Square Events in New York City, who earned the first runner-up spot in the pastry category for her Goat Cheese Old-Fashioned Doughnut. The mouthwatering doughnut is tangy-sweet with vanilla bean, goat cheese, and buttermilk, finished with a lemony goat cheese glaze. You can find the recipe here.
Brandon Kida, Executive Chef at Hinoki and The Bird in Los Angeles, was the first runner up in the savory category with his Leche de Chivo (Goat Cheese-style Ceviche). This ceviche begins with a classic base of fresh citrus juice, jalapeño, fresh shallots, and cilantro, which he then blended with the robust flavors of roasted beet oil and tangy goat cheese. The mixture is combined with sashimi-grade fish and topped with reserved leche de chivo bubbles. You can find the recipe here.
100 applicants from a nationwide chef network were selected for StarChefs’ blind Goat Cheese Recipe Contest. The brand of the goat cheese was not revealed until the competing chefs received samples of the Laura Chenel Original Log, Original Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Original Chef’s Chevre, a variety with a higher moisture content that is ideal for dips and sauces. Over half of the chefs submitted recipes that showcase the versatility of goat cheese in reimagined recipes.
As a pioneer in the California culinary revolution for 40 years, Laura Chenel’s legacy began when Alice Waters of Chez Panisse served warm, breaded goat cheese on top of mesclun greens for a goat cheese salad that grew into a quintessential part of California cuisine. The company partnered with StarChefs to encourage the participating chefs to take artisan goat cheese to a whole new level with inventive and edgy recipes.
Congratulations to all the winners—I can’t wait to test out those recipes!