Judgment Day at Guest Chef on the Waterfront

Last night was the 7th annual Guest Chef on the Waterfront. Each year, restaurants, breweries, and wineries make the annual pilgrimage to the pier to serve up specialties to benefit FareStart– a job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. The event is always well-attended, with participants buzzing about the best bites and beverages.

As mentioned previously, I’ve been honored to be part of the judging panel for GCOW, which means that I can’t just buzz about the best offerings, but I have to commit to picking my favorites. Votes get tabulated, and in the end, the judges select their top appetizer, entree, dessert, and overall best dish of the night. This means eating a lot of food, but we do it knowing it’s for a good cause.

Many laughed at the “do not disturb the judges” sign, especially as Lee Callahan, emcee of KZOK/Jack-FM fame, encouraged participants to visit our table to see us stuffing our faces. Undaunted, and up to the task, we devoured more than two dozen dishes and bestowed the following honors:

  • Best appetizer: Chef Jay Bartleson, Bell Harbor International Conference Center, for his cold smoked monkfish, Yakima corn pancake, horseradish-lemon cream cheese, and caviar creme fraiche.
  • Best entree: Chef Jose Chavez, Washington State Convention & Trade Center, for his halibut ceviche, mango, and avocado.
  • Best dessert: Chef Matt Kelley, Barking Frog at Willows Lodge, for his jivara cremeux, peanut butter powder, caramel mousse, and fleur de sel.

And the winner of the Best Overall dish was…Chef Jose Chavez for the halibut ceviche with mango and avocado.