October 25-27 was the 10th year of the International Chefs Congress, (ICC) which explored “the future of food and drink”. It was three days of cooking demonstrations, food, wine and bartender workshops and wine tasting seminars as well as the opportunity to sample very tasty food and cocktails. It was also the 6th annual Somm Slam competition and I was one of the judges for the event. Ten Sommelier competed against each other to be number one. The completion was held over the course of two days. On day one, the Somms were divided into two groups of five and each group was given a savory dish to pair with the wines (and beer) that were available. We, the judges rated each choice. After the first day the field was narrowed down to five who competed on the second day to determine the winner. The event was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center on 79 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Chef Evan Hennessey/ Stages At One Washington, Dover NH
Round 1: Oyster Stew: Great bay oysters, sea blight, sea rocket, smoked Pollack cracker and oyster chips.
Ashley Broshious/ Arkestone Vineyards, Napa CA
Nicholas Daddona/ Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston MA
Steven McDonald/ Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Houston TX
Daneil Toral/ 50 Eggs, Miami FL
Andrea Morris/ Jean-Georges, New York NY
Round 2: Glazed hanger steak, ground ivy, white garlic, caramelized spinach, trumpet mushroom and petite brassica.
Michael Dolinski/Junoon Restaurant, New York NY
Jordan Egan/The NoMad, New York NY
Todd Lipman/Bistro Du Midi, Boston MA
Winn Roberton/Bourbon Steak, Washington DC
Michael Duffy/Bowery Meat Co., New York NY
The ten Somms were pared down to five for the final part of the competition on Tuesday. The winner of the 2015 Somm Slam was Daniel Toral with Andrea Morris and Nicholas Daddona tying for second place.