Matt Selby is battling for $20,000 in the Master Holiday Chef Challenge: Vote!
Lori Midson Matt Selby, exec chef of the Corner House.
By the end of this month, star chef Matt Selby and James Iacino, president of Seattle Fish Company, will open the Corner House, a new restaurant in Jefferson Park, and while Selby is currently working on menus -- dishes like truffle salt-cured foie gras, mussels and "Denver Bronco" oysters with orange sauce -- he's also vying for $20,000 in the Master Holiday Chef Challenge, a battle among fourteen national chefs from across the country, all of whom have created four holiday recipes incorporating various cheeses, including Alouette, Ile de France and Chavrie fresh goat cheese.
The chefs chosen for the online recipe battle, which continues through Wednesday, were chosen based on their cooking accomplishments and community involvement, so it's no surprise that Selby nabbed a coveted spot. "The PR firm that deals with Alouette ran extensive searches for each target market and selected chefs from each market that they thought were not only culinary and community leaders, but also up to this particular challenge," says Selby. "I was was certainly honored that they even considered me," he adds.
The four recipes that Selby submitted-- Alouette crumbled feta creamed spinach; fig port grilled Colorado lamb loin with green goddess haricot verts and Alouette Gorgonzola panzanella salad; mixed beet salad with herbed Chavrie goat cheese, candied walnuts, sage tempura and pumpkin vinaigrette; and rosemary Alouette baby Brie crème brûlée -- were chosen, he says, for several different reasons. "I chose the recipes based mainly on dishes that I knew would go well with the excellent line of Alouette cheeses, but most important, I wanted to create dishes that had a creative touch but were still approachable and easy to execute for the home cook," explains Sleby. "I think that the baby Brie crème brûlée sort of speaks to that the most."
If Selby wins (he's currently in ninth place, so vote. Now!), he'll waltz away with a fat check and the "Master Holiday Chef" title, and if you're curious what he'll do with the loot should he emerge triumphant, his answer might surprise you. "As anti-climactic as it is, I'll probably do the responsible and frugal thing, and put it away for a rainy day," says Selby. And maybe share?
But it's not just Selby and the other thirteen chefs who are eligible to win. Each consumer vote will be entered into a random drawing for daily (and weekly) prizes, which include grocery gift cards and a KitchenAid cooking set.
To vote for Selby -- and put your own hat in the ring for swag -- go to www.masterholidaychef.com, and if you want to recreate Selby's recipes for the holidays, we've reprinted his creamed spinach and baby Brie crème brûlée on the next page.