MAST Academy Wins High School Culinary Cook-Off

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​Mayor Tomas Regalado handed the first place trophy to Mast Academy last night at the First Annual Blazing Kitchen High School Mystery Basket Culinary Competition. The cook-off between Mast and Braddock Senior High was one of the Blazing Kitchen events that took place within the second annual Miami Wine & Spirits Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Simone Zarmati Diament (editor/publisher South Florida Gourmet, Food & Wine Talk radio host on WSFG) was master of ceremonies, so to speak, and performed wonderfully at a difficult task -- keeping the crowd involved while narrating the proceedings on stage for an hour. That's how long the three students from each school had to prepare an appetizer, entree, and side dish to be chosen from an array of proteins and other ingredients provided.

Chefs Philippe Ruiz and Victor Passalacqua judged the event. Ruiz, the long time Palme d'Or chef, told us that his next venture will be located at 600 Brickell Avenue, will open "around September," and will be called Restaurant Du Cap.

Passalacqua and Ruiz roamed the stage for the duration of preparation, looking things over and occasionally offering a bit of advice. The students started out nervously but pulled things together in time. Winning dishes were a shrimp ceviche and seared sirloin steak with herbed goat cheese on top and a cold vegetable salad/slaw alongside.

Afterward, Victor rushed upstairs to another Blazing Kitchen event, his son Alexandre's Cooking For Kids demo, at which plates of macaroni-and-cheese were handed out to all.

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