Amuse chef named Top Chef of the Champlain Valley

Bearded Frog chef Andrea Cousineau competed

From Left: Bearded Frog chefs Jesse Lauer, Andrea Cousineau, and Mark La Riviere pose for a photo at the Top Chef of the Champlain Valley on Aug. 6.

Shawn Calley, executive chef of Amuse at the Essex Resort & Spa was named Top Chef of the Champlain Valley for the second straight year at CVAA’s benefit to support Meals on Wheels Monday, Aug. 6 at UVM’s Davis Center. Calley went head-to-head against Michael Clauss of the Bluebird Tavern and Andrea Cousineau of the Bearded Frog. Calley impressed the judges with his complex dishes highlighting this year’s secret ingredient of zucchini. The team from Amuse presented the judges with an Asian style consommé, pork dumpling, and pork tartare with vegetables for their appetizer. For the entrée, the winning dish was pork done three ways: a pork burger with pickled zucchini, seared pork loin with a red wine cherry sauce, and pork belly with fried egg and hollandaise.

According to Judge Mark Bove, Calley retained his title of top chef because of how he “highlighted the secret ingredient in an array of creative culinary concoctions.”

The Taste of Top Chef Award was won by Steve McElroy of The Arbors at Shelburne at the same event. Local restaurants and businesses donate appetizers for the event and the attendees vote for their favorite appetizer. McElroy received the most votes for his appetizer.

Over $26,000 was raised to support Meals on Wheels at the Top Chef of the Champlain Valley, which is enough to provide over 8,800 meals to seniors in need. Over 230,000 Meals on Wheels are delivered each year in the Champlain Valley to homebound seniors. A near-capacity crowd packed the Maple Ballroom to watch. The Top Chef of the Champlain Valley recognizes the talents of the areas’ top chefs and supports local farms, using all Vermont ingredients in this gourmet cook-off.


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