Last night marked the second face off between chefs for the title of champion of the grill at Whole Foods in Coral Gables. Chef Samuel Gorenstein of BLT Steak at The Betsy Hotel was pitted against Chef Michael Jacobs, who caters to the whims of our hometown boys, the Miami Heat.
Once again the challenge was laid forth: 20 minutes to shop, 20 dollars to spend, and another20 minutes to prepare a fully composed plate. Although the task seems almost impossible, both professionals demonstrated their vast superiority to us laypeople, who take waaaayyy longer to make something half as good to eat.
As with the previous match between Chefs Daniel Ganem and Timon Balloo, the judges had a difficult decision at hand, both dishes were delicious. (Disclaimer: this writer was one of them.) Chef Gorenstein presented a mahi-mahi encrusted with Moroccan spices, with a paper-thin shaved beet and fennel salad, garlicky hummus, lemon zest olive oil, beautifully carved fresh citrus and trace tastings of Serrano peppers. Chef Jacobs's tuna was covered in toasted cumin and coriander, and served with a black bean and corn sofrito. A creamy avocado puree was made with mint and basil, but without sour cream, because the chef ran out of money at the register (he also had to leave his lemons behind). A rice wine vinegar and ponzu vinaigrette on raw onion provided a nest of flavor on top. Like I said, very tough to choose a winner!
Both wanted to capitalize on the fresh flavors of summer, Chef
Gorenstein said that he "wanted to use citrus for acidity, add something
spicy, and it had to be fish. I wanted to do something light." Chef
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Jacobs dove deeper, choosing a dish to rival one of Gorenstein's menu
items at BLT. "Sam does a great tuna tartare with avocado, and I kinda
wanted to give it back to him." Apparently his strategy worked. In the end, Chef Jacobs took home the prize and will now compete against Chef Balloo in the finals on August 17.