Last Wednesday, Oct. 8, Chef Brandon Testi, Chef de Cuisine at blu Ember won the Crater Lake Chef Challenge.

Chef Brandon started with Crater Lake Vodka Heirloom Tomato Caprese, a simple idea with a twist. Local heirloom tomatoes, balsamic caviar, CL vodka vinaigrette, tomato and CL pepper vodka foam, mixed micro basics, and nitrogen basil snow and burrata. It showed up smoking on a sheet of slate! Beautiful!

He followed that with his Crater Lake Gin Infused Seafood Sausage “Faux Mortadella”…salmon and scallop, pistachio, baby root vegetables, CL gin bouillon, crispy salsify, garden herbs and CL gin tomato oil.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa’s Steakhouse Chef de Cuisine Forrest Rosh started with a Spanish chorizo and manila clams with a Crater Lake pepper vodka broth, sweet corn, shallots, chiles, cherry tomatoes, green onion, cilantro and house made baguettes.

His second course was a flavorful CL gin infused Wild Boar and Lamb Sausage Ragu over sage and rosemary buttermilk white polenta Shiitakes, watercress and celery root salad, lemon-thyme gastric. Agua Caliente’s bartender sent along a tasty cocktail recipe as well! Crater Lake Vodka, Champagne, and Pineapple nectar, with a fresh pineapple garnish! Yum!

The turnout was fantastic, as were the creations of both Chefs that kicked off their first round of semi- finals! Two more weeks of semi- final battles will lead to the Finals as the top three Chefs battle for the title, October 29th