by Chelsea Pelsone
Special to Left of Center
Chef Carmelo Raimondi and sous chef Bruce Wieszala of Carmelo's Restaurant were selected to compete last Sunday as challengers in the annual "Nickel City Chef" competition at Artisan Kitchens and Baths in Buffalo. Their opponents for this sold-out event were Nickel City chef Brian Mietus and sous chef Ronald Rytel of Bacchus restaurant, which is located in the Queen City.
The competition required each chef to prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, incorporating a secret ingredient into each dish. The secret ingredient selected for the chefs was Belgian beer. Keeping with the local ingredients theme, Community Beerworks supplied its "De Maas Amber Ale."
Raimondi's three dishes were "Beer Barley Risotto Style" as his first course; "Pork n' Beer," a beer-brined tenderloin, as his second course; and a "Spiced Beer Cake" accompanied by a beer ice cream as his third course.
The three judges selected to critique the dishes included James Roberts, executive chef at Park Country Club; Ivy Knight, editor-in-chief of Swallow; and Chris Dorsaneo of Lloyd's Taco Truck.
Knight said the standout dish was the beer barley. "You should give that to every young chef as an example of how to cook," she said.
Mietus's dishes consisted of "Fish and Chips," with oysters as fish and deep-fried Brussels sprouts serving as chips; "Beer French Onion Soup"; and "Beer-Basted Short-Ribs with Barley Hush Puppies."
After careful consideration from the judges, Carmelo's Restaurant was declared the winner by a score of 56 to 41.
Raimondi and Mietus were recently chosen as two of the "Best Chefs in America" in the book "Best Chefs America." Anyone interested in purchasing the book can do so by visiting www.bestchefsamerica.com.
Nickel City Chef is a "Feed your Soul Production," presenting "WNY's Finest Culinary Competition Featuring Top Chefs & Farm Fresh Ingredients."
Carmelo's Restaurant is offering customers the chance to experience the three-course Nickel City dinner ($30) while supplies last.
Carmelo's Restaurant is located at 425 Center St., Lewiston.