Robert Ruiz Named Chef of the Fest

The American Culinary Federation and the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival announced winners of the 2010 “Chef of the Fest” Competition with Chef Robert Ruiz of Harney Sushi taking top honors.

Ruiz earned the honor with a Sapporro Style Braised Newport Beef Tongue with Fallbrook Fuyu Persimmon and Roast Oregon Coast Matsutake, garnished with Chili Daikon-Shoga, 3D demi-glauce and Micro Shiso.

Second place honors went to Chef Paul McCabe of Kitchen 1540 for his Turducken Nuggest, Potato Air, Cranberry Gelèe and Foie Gras Gravy.

Chef Daniel Barron of Blue Point Coastal Cuisine earned 3rd place honors with his "Surf and Turf" - Wagyu Beef with Uni Emulsion and Lobster tater tot.

There was a little pressure since Harney Sushi won first place in 2009.

“A lot of hard work and forethought went into this year’s win,” said Chef Robert Ruiz. “I had the Festival on my mind when we won last year. I knew I’d be up next for the title and I had to take it to another level. Chef Sinsay’s vegetarian dish won last year, so slow braised beef seemed irresistible.”

The top 10 finalists and category winners were chosen by a panel of judges who graded each restaurant with a point system including scores for presentation, flavor, innovation, quality of product, and preparation in the allotted time.

The “Chef of the Fest” winners were awarded a combined $50,000 worth in cash and prizes. During the Celebrity Chef Luncheon, held at Roy’s Restaurant on Sunday, November 21, Chef Robert Ruiz took home a prize package that included $2,000, a vacation package to Las Vegas, a set of Bridgestone tires and inclusion in next year's festival as a headliner.

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