Chef Hollie West Wins Competition

ashevillewinefood.png       Chef Wins Competition with Cutting Board from Woodcraft by G!


There's nothing more exciting than a fierce competition, and that's what took place on August 22, 2015 at the Grand Tasting Chef's Challenge event at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. There was not an empty seat available as the four finalists had to prepare a meal in one hour with a secret ingredient that wasn't revealed to them until the very last minute and without a stove!

The four competitors this year were Steven Goff formerly of King James Public House; Ryan Kline of Buffalo Nickel; Joe Mitchell of Chestnut, and Hollie West of Sweet Monkey Cafe.  The secret ingredient this year was quail.

The judges said the point spread was extremely close ranging from 109 to 126.  Judge Bowles said, "It wasn't really a surprise to see her win.  A lot of folks know her as a great chef, but she doesn't necessarily have a lot of formal training that many of these other chefs have.  I think it just goes to prove that the vision that a chef has and the ability to really think about what they are putting on the plate really makes a difference in what that final plate is going to taste like."

Hollie's winning dish was stuffed quail with corn, celery, mushrooms and adobo sauce.  The game bird was served over sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes, cooked in chicken broth and coconut milk and spiked with green cardamom.  The dish was finished with adobo-coconut-butter sauce.  

Where did Woodcraft by G come in?  On the morning of the competition as Chef Hollie and her team were unloading their supplies, she noticed another competitor set out a cutting board.  At that moment, she realized that she had forgotten a basic tool!  Luckily, her Dad had seen a vendor with cutting boards and other wood products.  She hurried over to our booth and picked out a beautiful cutting board!  Hollie said about our board, "Now, I haven't competed in the culinary world much (this is the second one since the first in culinary school) , but I did happen to notice once I put my knife to this board how soft it was, a pleasure to mince on, so much that I actually didn't want to get it dirty!! There is hardly a knife groove from my work on it, this is a functional work of art! So giving to the blade, but not dulling like the plastic standard. So, in a way, I'm glad I forgot my standard white blah board, for now I have a piece with a story and a pleasure to work on."

About Hollie West:  Hollie grew up in Maui which she notes is a huge influence on the cuisine she creates.  She enjoys the Asian and Latin flavors and incorporates them wherever she can while keeping that Southern style.  From Maui to Seattle (studying at The Art Institute of Seattle) to the Asheville area, Hollie worked in many restaurants along the way.  Today she is the owner/operator of the Sweet Monkey Bakery located at 133 South Main Street, Marshall, NC.  Telephone:  828-301-0238.  If you stop by to enjoy some cuisine, tell her the folks at Woodcraft by G say, "Hello!"

Thank you Chef Hollie West for the great endorsement and congratulations on your big win all done in a dress!

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