TRAVERSE CITY — Two years ago then-culinary student Nick Aslanian helped his team take home top honors at the annual Chef’s Challenge at Boyne Mountain Resort.
Aslanian returns this year to compete as a chef in the sixth annual food challenge. The event showcases the best culinary teams, ingredients and products Michigan has to offer.
Proceeds benefit Challenge Mountain, a nonprofit organization that provides free adaptive outdoor recreational opportunities to people with special needs and their families. Challenge Mountain’s programs include downhill skiing, snowboarding, sailing and cycling.
“It’s really for a good cause,” said Aslanian, who will represent Apache Trout Grill of Traverse City, which is competing in the challenge for the first time. “For us as chefs it’s a lot of fun and we’re helping out Challenge Mountain. It’s a win-win.”
This year’s Chef’s Challenge includes a tasting competition, culinary seminars, and food and beverage displays. It culminates in the new “Chop Challenge,” in which teams compete in three rounds using a common pantry with general ingredients and a basket of mystery items revealed just before the start of the countdown clock. After each round, the team with the lowest score is eliminated from the competition.
The weekend kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, April 12, with six high school teams competing as Future Chefs and the opportunity to meet the celebrity chefs and judges. General admission is $10, which includes hors d’oeuvres.
Saturday, April 13 begins with free food, beer, wine and wellness seminars from 9 a.m. to noon. The “Taste of Michigan” tasting competition is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to organizers, “Taste of Michigan” is an opportunity for Michigan restaurants, schools and chefs to show off their talents, gain exposure for their establishments and help raise funds for Challenge Mountain.