The battle lines are drawn: Tin Nguyen, executive chef of the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort, will take on Holly Smith, owner and executive chef of Café Juanita, in the Chef’s Challenge at the 2012 Gig Harbor Wine & Food Festival on July 14.
Nguyen has more than 25 years experience in professional kitchens, and his awards include two American Culinary Federation Gold Medals. He holds a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., and is a certified executive chef with the American Culinary Federation. Since 2008, Nguyen has overseen three restaurants and all the banquet services for the hotel and resort operations for the Clearwater Casino.
Nguyen specializes in a variety of cuisines including traditional seafood, Asian and Creole, but he says he began with—and still loves to cook—all things Italian. “The spices in Italian cooking have a wonderful savor to them, whether you’re cooking a light dish or something more exotic. And your ability to expand and create your own dimension to each recipe is nearly limitless,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen will challenge this year’s .
The Chef’s Challenge this year will feature locally caught Dungeness crab from Taylor Shellfish Farms. Both chefs will be asked to prepare three items showcasing the crab—an appetizer, a main course and an optional course of the chefs’ choosing.
The chefs’ culinary creations will be evaluated by a panel of five judges that will include three selected dignitaries from the community and two audience members who have bid at auction for the honor.
Also auctioned off to audience members will be the sous chef position for each chef. The winning chef will receive a 3-litre, hand-etched and painted wine bottle from Fresh Northwest Design in Gig Harbor.