Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: Kansas City

Pope Pumps it Up at CCVI Food Fight

Chefs are a competitive lot, but it was all friendly competition at last week’s CCVI Food Fight 4. Three of the city’s best gathered on stage at The Guild, cooking to beat the clock, impress a panel of judges and benefit the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired.

Alex Pope of Local Pig topped the event, closely followed by Howard Hanna of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange and Michael Smith of Michael Smith and Extra Virgin in what co-chair Dolly Wood called the tightest point-spread in the event’s four-year history.

Food Fight 4 Competitors: Tony Glamcevski, Howard Hanna, Jerry Fisher, Alex Pope, Michael Smith and Ryan Sciara
Food Fight 4 chefs with their sous chefs: Tony Glamcevski & Howard Hanna, Jerry Fisher & Alex Pope and Michael Smith & Ryan Sciara

This year’s twist? Help from a trio of untrained sous chefs. Jerry Fisher, a self-described food enthusiast who’s never worked in a professional kitchen, backed up Pope. Hanna’s second was Tony Glamcevski, an industry pro who’s worked at Le Fou Frog and Green Dirt Farm and is now front-of-house at The Rieger. And Ryan Sciara of Cellar Rat Wine Merchants served as Smith’s sous.

If it added tension to the evening, you couldn’t tell. Each duo focused on the job at hand, chopping, frying and roasting as efficiently as possible in their make-shift kitchens. Their task: to prepare three courses in one hour, using ingredients from a grocery bag that included cod, flank steak, black walnuts, piquillo peppers and the like.

They could plan everything in advance but for one factor: a secret ingredient announced by honorary chef and chairman David Crum at the outset of the evening. His pick? Sweet potatoes grown by Thane Palmberg.

“It’s the only thing grown locally that’s available this time of year,” said Crum, general manager of Arrowhead Specialty Meats and Food Fight veteran (he served as sous chef to the late John McClure of Starker’s in 2011 and for Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda in 2012). “They’ve been cellared since last fall, and they’re so tasty.”

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Conatser tops PoPFest Bartending Competition—again

In the weeks leading up to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition, much was made of the fact that Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore placed every time he entered what was formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. And last night he kept the streak alive, taking first place with his Manhattan (in)Verse.… Continue Reading

PoPFest Bartending Competition goes big

There’s nothing like strolling into your favorite bar, takin’ a seat and watching a great bartender go to work. Unless you go to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition on Sunday night, where you can see a dozen of the country’s best mix it up on Sunday night as they vie for the $1,750… Continue Reading

A Dale DeGroff Top 10

What’s the big deal with this Dale DeGroff guy? Someone asked me that awhile back, and I hardly knew where to start. So, here are 10 reasons why you should care that DeGroff’s at the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival.   10. He’s the king. Really, when a guy knows so much about cocktails,… Continue Reading

Paris of the Plains pops in Kansas City

In 2007, Ryan Maybee and Doug Frost started a little thing called the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. Well, little in comparison to what that event’s grown into—the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival. The week-long event’s already underway, and I wrote about it in today’s Kansas City Star (KC’s cocktail culture births Paris of… Continue Reading

The ‘life’ part of FoodDrinkLife

Life’s good these days, but it’s left me precious little time for blogging. Maybe you noticed? No? I’m not surprised. Your life is probably more hectic than mine. As soon as school let out, the pace picked up—swimming lessons, summer theater, preparing for the 4H fair, family reunions, attempting to keep at least the fruit… Continue Reading

In season: lavender

Lavender is one of my favorite flowers, but I can never quite decide what to do with it. Dry it and use it in a lamb rub? Or sew it into sachets, like my friends at Washington Creek Lavender do? But it’s so lovely fresh. This year, the scent sent me to my cocktail books,… Continue Reading

Botanical bartending

There’s nothing new about bartenders using herbs. But no one does it quite like Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore. That’s why a handful of Kansas City’s bartenders—many of them members of the KC Bartenders’ Guild, a newly formed chapter of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild—trekked up to Paradise, Mo., earlier this week for Conatser’s take on… Continue Reading

In season: wild gooseberries

So, were the wild gooseberries worth fighting prickles, poison ivy, ticks and locust thorns for? Absolutely. The season, like everything this year, came on early. Suddenly gooseberries were everywhere. We picked as many as we could stand picking, grateful that Ribes missouriense is a friendlier berry than the Sierra gooseberries Hank Shaw describes as “nasty,… Continue Reading

Bitter flashback

Bitter’s big in the cocktail world these days, and store shelves are now crowded with all manner of amari. So I was tickled to see my old friend Sanbitter top Imbibe’s list of 50 Most Notable Drinks of the Moment. The vivid red Italian aperitif is happily non-alcoholic, and it saw me through my pregnant… Continue Reading