2015 Big Sur Foragers Festival Announces

Fungus Face Off Winners

BIG SUR, CA — A celebration of an amazing array of wild foods was the centerpiece for the January 16 – 18th weekend of gourmet food, world-class wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and the friendly chef competition with celebrity judges.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the Big Sur Health Center. The community’s non-profit health center will receive the proceeds from the foraging events to support the continued presence of local health care services. This year’s Big Sur Foragers Festival raised more than $30,000!
On Saturday, January 17, the “Fungus Face-Off” was held on the deck at Ventana Inn & Spa! There was a friendly competition among some of the area’s notable chefs featuring chanterelles and other fabulous fungi. Celebrity judges included Jim Dodge, Mike Hale with the Monterey Herald, Russ Parsons with the Los Angeles Times and Wendy Brodie. Attendees had an opportunity to taste along with the judges and to cast their vote for “People’s Choice”.
Participating restaurants were: The Restaurant at Ventana Inn Executive Chef Paul Corsentino, Chef Sean Garrett, Fernwood, Chef Johnny DeVivo, Porters in the Forest at Poppy Hills, Chef Phillip Burrus, Esalen, Chef Tim Wood, Carmel Valley Ranch, Chef Evan Lite, The Beach House at Lover’s Point; Chef Brendan Esons, Big Sur Roadhouse; Chef Tony Baker, Montrio Bistro / Baker’s Bacon and Chef Steve Johnson and Mike Behan, TusCA Ristorante at Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.

Montrio and Bakers Bacon
Winner of Judges Pick for Best Overall

  • Black trumpet mushroom tart, dock candy cap jelly, Foie Gras parfait, Bakers Bacon and pine needle syrup.

Carmel Valley Ranch
Winner of Best Dish Using Wine and the People’s Choice Award Winner

  • Chanterelle, black trumpet, hedgehog mushrooms with short ribs on a garlic crostini with sea salt and red radishes.

The Beach House at Lovers Point
Winner of Dish Most Easily Adapted to Home Cooking

  • Mushroom and pork Suigow with shitake, oyster, porcini and portabella mushrooms with a truffle soy butter.

Big Sur Roadhouse
Winner of Most Nutritious and Healthy

  • Drinks with a variety of marinated wild mushrooms. Drinks include Wood Sorrel Ale; Huckleberry Fizz with Big Sur Spring Water and Pine Needle Bay Laurel and Spearmint Tea with Big Sur Honey.

The Restaurant at Ventana
Winner of Best Use of Local Ingredients

  • Candy Cap mushroom ravioli fried with chanterelle mushrooms, black truffle puree in a chanterelle mushroom broth with pickled chanterelles

Porters in the Forest
Winner of Most Inventive Use of Ingredients

  • Mushrooms 5 ways: Pine nut aioli, fried lentil, burnt meringue. Mushrooms were pickled, roasted and sautéed and finished with chili sea salt.

Winner of Best Cooking Technique

  • Pork and chanterelle meatloaf with chanterelle butter gravy and a lemon microgreen salad. The meatloaf was made with 4 kinds of pork and Fernwood house made bacon.

Best Winner of Vegetarian Dish

  • Wild fennel salad with Esalen garden herbs, puree of Coke Farm celery root and pickled chanterelles.

Big Sur Bakery
Winner of Best Table Display

  • Mushroom puppies with pate and Choux puffs with black trumpets, wild rice and hints of Umeboshi.

TusCA RistoranteHyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa
Winner of Dish with Most Complex Flavors

  • Sea scallop with coconut carrot broth, roasted shitake mushrooms, fresh Enoki mushrooms, lime caviar as well as a Thai basil leaf.

In addition, there was a tasting, wine parings and beer tasting donated by:

  • The Quail and Olive
  • Winery Partners/Brewery
  • Chappellet
  • Alvarado Street Brewery
  • Mad Otter Ales
  • Tudor Wines
  • Holman Ranch
  • Morgan Winery
  • Mesa Del Sol Winery
  • Comanche Cellars
  • Ventana Wines
  • McIntyre Vineyards
  • Bernardus Lodge
  • Dawn’s Dream
  • Joullian Vineyards
  • Chesebro Wines
  • Fillipponi Ranch
  • Galante Vineyards
  • Scheid Vineyards