Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson has a new Copper Chef

Copper Chef 2011
Ryan Clark Team

Tucson restaurant news

I have been fortunate to attend several of the Tucson Culinary Festival events and I must say that the Tucson Culinary Festival’s finale brunch was pretty darn exciting. There were many competitions going on as in “throw downs.”  But the piece de resistance was the Copper Chef Challenge. Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who worked so hard to put this event together.

Here’s the press release

Tucson, Ariz—The 2011 Tucson Culinary Festival concluded with the Copper Chef Challenge on Sunday, October 30th on the Kiva Patio at Loews Ventana Canyon. The exciting match pitted 2010/11 Copper Chef Addam Buzzalini from Maynards Market and Kitchen against Chef Ryan Clark from Lodge on the Desert.  While guests at the event watched the action and enjoyed fabulous food and drinks provided by Tucson Original restaurants, the two chefs and their teams each created and executed four of the most amazing dishes – all featuring two secret ingredients:  Short loin of beef (provided by purveyor Certified Angus Beef) and Lobster mushrooms.

In a very close decision, the esteemed panel of judges concluded that Chef Clark earned the highest marks in all criteria.  Chef Clark, was a formidable opponent against the outstanding talents of Chef Buzzalini.

Judges included:

Chef Bill Sy – Culinary Arts Director for The Art Institute of Tucson and a visiting professor at several culinary programs around the globe.

Linda West Eckhardt – award winning American culinary writer, author of 23 books. www.everybodyeatsnews.com
Chef Michael Ollier – chef for certified Angus Beef LLC and a brand spokesperson.

Jennifer English- From Tucson – A pioneer in culinary broadcasting, winner of both James Beard and Gracie Allen awards, a leading flavor trend expert in the country, and a Tucson treasure.

For a judge’s  eye view of the event visit Linda West Eckhardt’s blog:

4 Dishes in  2 Hours – The Winning Dishes

1st Course
“Smoked” Surf and Turf Tartare
Chinese Tea Smoked Prime Filet Mignon, Grilled Hot Peppers, Togarashi Spiced Dungeness Crab, Pickled Lobster Mushrooms + Hijiki, Spicy Tamari Reduction

2nd Course
Braised Prime Short Rib Lettuce Wrap
Korean BBQ Style, Radish-Jicama-Cilantro Salad, Fresh Mint, Nuac Chom Sauce

3rd Course
Deconstructed Teriyaki Kabob
Sous Vide ‘Center Cut’ Beef Tenderloin, Tempura Onion Ring, Tomato Jam, “Dry Ice” Pineapple Sorbet, Grilled Lobster Mushrooms, Sesame Snow

4th Course
“Under Pressure”
Sous Vide ‘Center Cut’ Strip Loin, ‘Thai Basil Sous Vide’ Lobster Mushrooms-Fingerling Potatoes, Beef Bone & Tamari Caramel

Exciting news for Tucson’s foodies, Chef Clark will be featuring one of the above dishes each week through the month of November (price TBD) at the Lodge on the Desert located at 306 N Alvernon Way. Call 320-2007 for reservations.

–Nov 3-5                –  “Smoked” Surf and Turf Tartare
–Nov 10-12           –   Braised Prime Short Rib Lettuce Wrap
–Nov 17-19           –   Deconstructed Teriyaki Kabob
–Nov 25-27          –   “Under Pressure”

The Tucson Culinary Festival is a production of the Tucson Originals and would not be possible without the incredible support and generosity of a wide array of sponsors.  For a complete list of supporting sponsors visit the online event program.

A portion of the 2011 Culinary Festival proceeds for this year will be given as follows: World Margarita Championship beneficiary Arizona’s Children Association; Reserve and Grand Tasting beneficiary Diamond Children’s Medical Center and Copper Chef Challenge and Barbecue beneficiary New Beginnings for Women and Children.  For additional information on the selected nonprofits and the Tucson Culinary Festival visit the website .


P.S.  As for the “throw downs,” I absolutely loved Pasco’s macaroni & cheese. This dish was complex and homey at the same time. If it’s on their menu, a little bit goes a long way and would be the perfect dinner with a salad and glass of wine.

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