Chef Challenge Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash & Asian Pear Soup

By Chef Jesse Anderson, 2014 Chef Challenge Winner


  • 1 large Butternut Squash, cut in half, seeds and membrane removed *Reserve seeds to roast for garnish or a snack
  • 2 Asian Pears, peeled, sliced in half and cored
  • Course Sea Salt 
  • 1⁄4 tsp Cinnamon
  • Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Clarified Butter or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 inch piece Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 TB Garam Masala, or to taste (your favorite curry powder can be substituted for variation)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1⁄4 Vanilla Bean, sliced open and scraped (reserve pod for another use)
  • 3 Cups Water or Stock (more or less to reach desired consistency)
  • 1 TB Maple Syrup *optional*
  • Dash of Chile Flakes, Cayenne, Sriacha, or Oleek
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk or Heavy Cream
  • 1⁄4 Lime

Optional Garnish:

  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Spiced Chocolate Ganache
  • Toasted Pecans
  • Roasted Squash seeds
  • Roasted Pear Slices
  • Crème Fraiche, Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut a few slices into the top of the squash or pierce several times with a fork. Rub squash and pears with oil and sprinkle generously with salt and a bit of the dried spices, squash and pears in shallow roasting or sheet pan and roast for 40-60 minutes until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.* Pears may be done sooner so you may need to pull them out earlier.
  3. Heat oil in soup pot on medium heat and sauté onions until golden. Add garlic, ginger, remaining spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. 
  4. Scoop the flesh from the squash. Add squash, pears (you may reserve some sliced pear for garnishing), water or stock (enough to cover veggies), salt to taste and maple syrup to the pot. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes to incorporate flavors.
  5. Remove from heat and puree in small batches with an immersion blender, food processor or traditional blender and pour back into pot. Add coconut milk or cream. Adjust consistency and seasoning while on low heat.
  6. To finish, squeeze lime wedge and stir. Add choice of garnish.

For Spiced Ganache:

  • 4 oz chocolate
  • 1⁄2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Pinch of chile powder, chile flake or spice mix
  • 1tsp Butter, room temperature 

Add chile or spice to heavy cream in small pan; scald. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Finish with butter and stir until emulsified.

Beet Home Fries with Honey Goat Cheese Dip

By Chef Jesse Anderson, 2014 Chef Challenge Winner

  • 10 beets, scrubbed
  • 1⁄4 c olive or vegetable oil
  • 1⁄4 c Red Wine Vinegar
  • Soybean, Peanut or Vegetable Oil for Frying 
  • Cornstarch, as needed
  • Coarse Salt
  • Spice blend such as Shichimi Togarashi, Furikake or Zatar
  • Green Onions and cilantro, for Garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place beets in the center of a large foil sheet. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Place a second large foil sheet on top of the beets and crimp the edges to form an airtight pocket. Roast in oven for approximately 2 hours. 
  3. Remove from oven and set aside until they cool enough to handle. Peel skins using a thin kitchen towel. (They should slide off easily if cooked correctly).
  4. Heat soybean oil in a large pan or deep fryer at 375 degrees.
  5. Toss the beets in cornstarch until well coated. Fry in small batches, until crispy.
  6. Transfer to rack or paper towel to remove excess grease. Sprinkle with salt and spice mix and serve immediately.

Goat Cheese Sauce

  • 1c Soft Goat Cheese
  • 1/3 c Mayonnaise
  • 2TB Honey
  • 1TB Balsamic Vinegar or Lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne to taste
  • Salt

Puree ingredients in food processor or mix by hand until smooth.

Grilled Kale

By Chef Jesse Anderson, 2014 Chef Challenge Winner

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1TB Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 bunch Kale, washed and dried
  • Zest and Juice of 1⁄2 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat and season the grill.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss until coated.
  3. Layer the kale on the grill, side by side, in a single layer on the grill. Grill until crispy, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Turn and grill the other side for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from grill, chop if desired, and serve. 
  5. Don’t be afraid of the char! The burnt parts are the best.

Thai Pork & Beans with Butternut Squash Puree, Caramelized Sweet Potatoes, & Pickled Kohlrabi

By Chef Aaron Young, 2014 Chef Challenge Contestant

Thai Pork and Beans:

  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chestnuts, chopped & roasted
  • Pecans, roasted
  • 1 whole leek, sliced
  • Kale, braised, rough chopped
  • Celery, small diced
  • Beans, soaked and cooked till tender
  • 1 lb pork jowls, small diced

Cook the beans with fresh ginger, leeks, and kale.

Caramelized sweet potatoes:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, small diced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Butternut Squash Puree:

  • Butternut Squash,  roasted, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock

Pickled Kohlrabi

  • 1 whole kohlrabi, julienne cut
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/4 cup of vinegar

Lamb with Onion, Asian Pear, & Butternut Squash

By Chef Kyle Lamb, 2014 Chef Challenge Contestant


  1. Clean all protein of sinew and connective tissue
  2. Vacuum seal the lamb with rosemary and butter
  3. Cook in a water bath set to 46 degrees Celsius for 2 hrs
  4. Put the bags into an ice bath

Onion Soubise

  1. Julienne onions and put into a pot with butter
  2. With a lid on, cook the onions very slowly over low heat
  3. Once the onions are very soft, pour the pot into a blender. Puree until smooth
  4. Season with salt 

Pickled Onion

  1. Cut onions into small rings
  2. In a large pot combine apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves, mustard seed, salt, water, brown sugar, fresh thyme.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, and allow to cool to room temperature, and strain
  4. Add the onion to the pickle liquid
  5. The pickles will be ready in about an hour

Asian Pear Gel

  1. Over a live fire, char the asian pear on all sides
  2. Separate the main flesh, and put into a small saucepan
  3. Cook until the fruit is soft
  4. Press the fruit thru a chinois or fine-mesh sieve
  5. Put the fruit into a blender
  6. While blending on high, add 1.5% low acyl gellan gum and .5% xanthum gum
  7. Put the gel into a plastic squeeze bottle and hold warm until ready for use

Ember Roasted Butternut Squash

  1. Build a large fire, preferably with a flavorful wood
  2. As the wood burns down, collect the embers into a common location
  3. Bury the squash in the embers
  4. Allow the embers to slowly cook the squash until al dente
  5. Cool the squash
  6. Remove the skin and seeds
  7. Fabricate the squash into bite size pieces

Liquid Nitrogen Floral Oil

  1. Pick the petals off of 2 merigold flowers, reserve the stems.
  2. Gather whole parsley leaves
  3. Add the petals, parley, and olive oil into a container of liquid nitrogen
  4. Crush the ingredients together
  5. This must be done when the dish is ready to be served