Chef Michael Bowe from Huntington Prime probably received my husband's vote, largely because his braised pork belly was served on a bed of smoked Gouda and roasted red pepper grits. He loves grits. They also served a flourless chocolate cake.
The Greenbrier's chef Steve Mengal offered a generous slab of peppered smoked salmon as well as decadent chocolate pots du crème. The line for at Waterfront Place was long as people lined up to dip fruit and various accoutrements in a bubbling chocolate fountain. Bridge Road Bistro's chef Robert Wong paired lamb, also local, pot stickers with a spicy ratatouille relish.
Kathy Hamrick of Good Golly Ms Molly's Salsa offered a table full of wraps and dips made with her products and Biselli pasta products.
Thomas Grant of Carver College served three cold soups in shot glasses, each with a little bit of something complementary. Avocado crab soup came with crab meat salad on a mustard cracker. A bright fuchsia clear borscht came with chevre and fennel salad and chilled cucumber soup came with shrimp salad. His students made the soups in class.
West Virginia Northern's sweet onion tartlet with feta cheese was a particularly tasty morsel. They also offered tiny cones of rolled sweet potato crepes filled with smoked chicken and barbeque froth.
The most eye-catching presentation award, had there been one, should have gone to Mountain State University's ice tree, which was a stack of ice blocks with spoon handles jammed in between the blocks. Each spoon held a mouthful of a creative combination. There was duck comfit with orange foam, curried chicken with carrot puree and shrimp with a seafood slaw.
The students also used the ice to chill shot classes of cold soup.
Ice sculpting was big at the Classic. Saturday morning breakfast diners could watch chefs and students wrestle with giant blocks of ice to create intricate carvings. The ice chips flew as they cut away big pieces, then tweaked the sculptures with more delicate carving tools.
Saturday afternoon demonstrations were on plate garnishing and on trendy desserts. The Saturday night menu's sounded fantastic, with caramelized scallops, duck confit salad, roasted lamp loin in herb pastry and chocolate and chambord mouse. I regret that we missed Saturday's events. I mean I really regret it, but I offer my compliments to all the chefs, planners and sponsors of the eighth annual Culinary Classic.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.