About Tavistock Top Chef
Tavistock Top Chef is an annual competition where the Executive Chefs from Tavistock Restaurants’ upscale brands as well as Tavistock Group’s three prestigious resort communities have been invited to compete in a series of culinary challenges, culminating in a final face-off at the Tavistock Cup to determine the group’s Top Chef of the year. 2012-2013 is the inaugural year of the competition.
Eligible restaurants include: Abe & Louie’s, Alcatraz Brewing Co., AquaKnox, Atlantic Fish Co., Blackhawk Grille, Cafe del Rey, California Cafe, Canonita, Charley’s Chestnut Hill, Coach Grill, Joe’s American Bar & Grill, Napa Valley Grille, Papa Razzi Paramus, Sapporo Scottsdale, Timpano Italian Chophouse, ZED451, The Albany Golf Resort & Yacht Club (Bahamas), Isleworth Golf & Country Club (Orlando, FL) and Lake Nona Golf & Country Club (Orlando, FL).
In February 2012, Tavistock Restaurants started an internal blog as a forum for its chefs to share photos and recipes of their creations with the group and with each other. The index of recipes facilitated a sense of community among Tavistock’s many restaurants spread out across different regions and provided various inspirations and ideas for its chefs.
Wanting to grow the forum, Tavistock Restaurants started featuring a “Dish of the Week” to instill pride in the work of its chefs. The excitement surrounding the blog soon grew into an idea for a larger competition, involving an actual gathering of the chefs and live cook-offs. With an opportunity to leverage and strengthen Tavistock’s key food and beverage partnerships as well as build on the success of the Tavistock Cup, Tavistock Top Chef was born.
The first round of the 2012-2013 competition commenced with 33 participating Executive Chefs submitting two recipes each (one pork and one freestyle dish), including photos, plate costs and media pitches. The dishes were judged blindly by Tavistock Restaurants’ retained public relations agencies (all specializing in food and restaurant brands) for plate presentation, value and broad appeal. The PR judges narrowed the field down to the Top 12 chefs, who would then move on to Quarterfinals.
The Quarterfinals involved live cook-offs spread into three heats of four chefs each, taking place at the U.S. Foods test kitchen in Rosemont, IL. The chefs were initially instructed to prepare for cooking either the pork or freestyle dish they had submitted in the first round, but they were surprised with an entirely new set of ingredients upon entering the test kitchen. A number of quick-fire challenges were thrown in the mix as well, giving all of the chefs an opportunity to showcase their organizational and improvisational skills in addition to their culinary chops.
Joined by a panel of guest judges (including prominent local food writers and journalists), Tavistock’s executive team narrowed the list from twelve to six to compete at the Semifinals. The Semifinals were held at the Albany Golf Resort & Yacht Club in the Bahamas. The chefs competed in multiple locations across the luxury resort with the final challenge held on the beach in front of the highly-acclaimed Aviva Restaurant where they were given minimal culinary tools to prepare an extraordinary surf & turf dish.
The field was then narrowed down to the Top 2 to compete in the Top Chef Finals in March during the Tavistock Cup Gala at The Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Orlando. The chefs each prepared an amuse bouche to pair with a wine from Trinchero Family Estates’ collection for the Gala guests to taste and judge. Executive Chef Taylor Boudreaux from the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, CA has been named the first Tavistock Top Chef Grand Champion and received his Top Chef’s Coat at the Gala Ceremonies.
Tavistock Top Chef would not be possible without the incredible support of Tavistock’s many partners who have not only fully embraced and helped drive the competition in its first year, but also generously offered to host and sponsor its various associated events. The Tavistock Restaurant Group would like give special thanks to: Trincheros Family Estates, U.S. Foods, M Tucker of Singer NY, Constellation Wines, Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Majestic Fine Wines, Young’s Market Company, Duckhorn Vineyards, DFV Wines, Gauthier Wines, M.S. Walker, Sid Wainer & Son, Don Edwards Company, NPC Inc., ChefWorks, Summerland Winery, Wagner Family of Wine, Jayshree Spices & Seasonings, Ecolab, LA & SF Specialty and Peerless Coffee & Tea. For future partnership opportunities, please contact email@example.com.
With the unbelievable support and excitement that Tavistock Top Chef has been able to garner from staff, media and partners alike in just its first year, Tavistock Restaurants hopes to continue to expand the competition in the following years. Stay tuned to this official Tavistock Top Chef blog for any news and exciting updates on this annual event.