The 4th Annual Shore Lodge Culinary Festival took center stage in McCall with a weekend line-up of foodie festivities.

The highly anticipated event began with four simultaneous cooking demos where the chefs from the Culinary King of the Mountain competition showcased their kitchen prowess with live demonstrations of one of their favorite dishes. Spectators got hands-on for the event, practicing their skills with Chef Ott’s Crispy Potato Gnocchi, Chef Shipley’s Peppered Beef Tenderloin Beggars Purses, Chef Alcelay’s French Baguettes and Chef Greaves’ Negimaki Three Ways over cocktails and conversations.

We were back at it Saturday morning for the Culinary King of the Mountain competition. Four chefs and their teams of three chefs-for-a-day battled it out in a series of fast-paced mystery box challenges that saw one team eliminated each round. Three knowledgeable judges, Edible Idaho’s contributing editor Tara Morgan, Lucky Fins and Smokin’ Fins’ Corporate Executive Chef Wiley Earl, and Wagner Family of Wine’s Jenny Wagner were on hand to sample the dishes and make the tough decisions, while emcee Chef Alan Turner kept audiences in the know.

The first round had our chefs racing the clock to make the superior appetizer with a combination of rambutan, Maine lobster, hard cider and smoked bacon. Among the dishes were Lobster Thermidor, Summer Rolls, Pho and Lobster Pakora.

In between rounds the judges deliberated on the dishes while contestants wandered to the Farmer’s and Fair Trade Market to peruse the produce of local Idaho vendors, including infused olive oils, craft beers, pickled vegetables, wines, kitchenware, coffee, jams and relishes, potatoes, and more. Throughout the day, The Theater at Shore Lodge played a satisfying selection of foodie flicks to keep kids and families entertained.

After supporting local businesses and growers, spectators returned for the second match of the food fight, which began with a mystery box reveal of juniper berries, pineapple, rack of elk and wild rice — a very challenging ingredient to perfect in under 30 minutes! Despite the daunting task, our chefs and their brave teams muddled through, creating gastronomic genius with dishes like Rack of Elk with Demi-Glace Reduction and Wild Rice, Wild Rice Crusted Elk Medallions with Gin and Juniper Berry Cream Sauce, Juniper Berry and Hazelnut Crusted Elk Loin with Fingerling Potatoes and Pineapple Ragu, and a Rosemary Garlic Elk Chop over Wild Rice.

After a short and suspense-filled deliberation period by the judges that allowed spectators to refill their drinks at the bar, the final two chefs were selected. Chefs Alcelay and Greaves went head-to-head creating their best dishes out of the mystery box ingredients: cactus pear, graham crackers, Stilton cheese and tequila.

While Chef Greaves took home the crown, there were many winners that day, including spectators who discovered new local favorites, and The McCall-Donnelly Education Foundation. Throughout the competition, one dish was auctioned from each round, with proceeds going to the foundation. All in all, over $700 were raised for a great cause.

The night ended with an outstanding, collaborative five-course Winemaker’s Dinner which paired one course from each of the competing chefs with wine selections introduced by Jenny Wagner from Wagner Family of Wine.

The weekend came to a delicious end with Sunday’s Farewell Brunch, featuring a made-to-order omelet station, mussels, and more.

Thanks to all who came out to the event, whether to enjoy the foodie festival or participate in it. We hope you to see you again at the 2018 Festival!

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