Two Roswell chefs will soon go head-to-head with 10 others to prove their talent and showcase the "versatility of the famous Vidalia® onion."
The 2nd Annual Golden Onion, a professional cooking competition challenging 12 Georgia chefs to create and prepare recipes featuring Vidalia® onions, will be held in south Georgia during April, according to information provided by event organizers.
Let's just say: it's a Georgia thing, considering the Vidalia® onion is the official state vegetable.
Chef Mimmo Alboumeh of Coldbrews Sports Bar & Grill and Chef Marc Taft of The Mill Kitchen & Bar are among the elite group of Georgia tastemakers to compete in the one hour competition, April 14 in Vidalia, Ga. The event serves as the official kickoff to the 36th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival this year, according to the press release.
It was during Alboumeh's childhood in Italy and Spain in which he gained a passion for the culinary arts. According to his bio, Alboumeh is currently the owner and executive chef of ME Restaurant Group, which operates not only Coldbrews Sports Bar & Grill and Coldbrews Oyster Bar, but also Red Pepper Taqueria.
"I believe in using the freshest ingredients whenever possible, buying locally and giving back to our community," he said. "That being said, cultivating dishes that include Vidalia onions on my menus has always been very important. The light and delicate flavor of the Vidalia onion makes it so versatile."
It's unique ability to adapt to many different dishes is also what Taft loves about the Vidalia onion.
"I love the versatility of the Vidalia® onion, the perfect balance of the onion flavor and sweetness make it the perfect additive to any dish or stand alone as the star of the show," he said.
Taft has had a long career in the restaurant and hospitality industries, overseeing everything from operations to concept development. He is currently the chef and owner of Chicken & The Egg in Marietta and executive chef, as well as the general manager of the new The Mill Kitchen & Bar in Roswell.
In addition to Alboumeh and Taft, ten other chefs "from the mountains to the islands" will also compete in the onion cooking battle, including: Chef Daniel Chance, of Campogonolo in Atlanta; Chef Linda Harrell, of Cibo E Beve in Sandy Springs; Chef Brian Jones, of Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta; Chef Brian Justice, of Tasteful Temptations Café in Brunswick; Chef John Mark Lane, of Elements Bistro & Grill in Lyons; Chef Roberto Leoci, of Leoci’s Trattoria in Savannah; Chef Keira Moritz, of Steel Magnolias in Valdosta; Chef Austin Rocconi, of Le Vigne Restaurant at Montaluce in Dahlonega; Chef Michael Shutters of The Pilot House Grille Restaurant in Fort Gaines; and Chef Dave Snyder of Halyards and Tramici in St. Simons Island.
The First Place champion will be presented the Golden Onion trophy to hold for one year along with a cash prize of $500. The second place winner will receive $250 and the third place winner $100. The competition will be held at the Vidalia Community Center, 107 Old Airport Road in Vidalia, Ga. It is open to the public starting at 12:30 p.m. Advance tickets cost $10 per person or $15 at the door and include an event recipe booklet. For details visit the Vidalia Onion Festival website.