A night of citrus-filled cuisine at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

Chefs under the spotlight at Mildred's Temple KitchenLast night I was fortunate enough to be invited out to the Florida Department of Citrus‘ ‘Pulp Kitchen: Rising Chef Citrus Cook-Offat Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

As part of Winterlicious, the night featured a competition of three student chefs each creating three citrus-themed dishes (app, entree, dessert)  served to three celebrity judges (Christian Pritchard, Chef Lynn Crawford and Chef Jeff Crump). The night was emceed by Mildred’s owner and executive chef, Donna Dooher who did a fantastic job keeping everyone entertained.

The chefs had very limited time to prepare their dishes under hot stage lights, with people (like me) photographing them and the judges of course, critiquing each of their choices. In the end, Chad Shetty from the Niagara College Culinary School took home the big prize of $2,000 after receiving some high praise from the judges on each of his plates. Congrats also have to go out to Greg Light from Humber College and Cortney Zettler from Stratford Chefs School whose plates looked equally delicious (in my humble opinion).

Guest meals were separate from the competition, but also featured a citrus-theme in the appetizer and four courses, and were prepared by the staff at Mildred’s:

First Course: Avocado salad with carbonated Florida grapefruit

First Course: Avocado salad with carbonated Florida grapefruit

The first course to start our night was an interesting blend of citrus with spiciness, which was quite good. I didn’t eat the onion, but the hot pepper went well with the grapefruit and avocado.

Second Course: BC Albacore tuna and Florida grapefruit segments in tofu orange sauce, with baby arugula and truffled ginger soy vinaigrette

Second Course: BC Albacore tuna and Florida grapefruit segments in tofu orange sauce, with baby arugula and truffled ginger soy vinaigrette

Next up was this tuna meal. I’m slightly allergic to seafood, so I could only grab a bit of the fish. However, the rest of the plate was very well done and the arugula, ginger soy vinaigrette and grapefruit was an excellent blend of flavours.

Chicken and house-made merguez tagine with medjool dates and Florida orange juice, served on a bed of Florida orange juice infused couscous

Third Course: Chicken and house-made merguez tagine with medjool dates and Florida orange juice, served on a bed of Florida orange juice infused couscous

By far this was my favourite meal of the night. As soon as the dish was served I was immediately excited to try it. The chicken was perfectly done and fell apart in my mouth. It went well with the orange juice infused couscous, which wasn’t as citrus-y as I had expected.

Dessert: House-made ricotta torta della nona with Florida orange juice, orange zest and topped with orange syrup and a Florida orange segment

Dessert: House-made ricotta torta della nona with Florida orange juice, orange zest and topped with orange syrup and a Florida orange segment

A close second was this dessert. The orange syrup made the torta, which was creamy and not sweet, taste just perfect. I’m not a huge fan of sweets so this dessert suited my palate quite well.

Overall the night went very well and the competition felt like I was watching a Food Network show while I ate. I would have loved to have tried the dishes prepared by the students because their presentations looked extremely well done. I’d also like the opportunity to make it out to Mildred’s once again because I enjoyed it so much, though my treks to Liberty Village are unfortunately few and far between.

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