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Finger Lakes Pro-Am Chef Challenge Spices Up Spring This Week



- Slice, Dice & Spice, NY Tourism Initiative Highlights Culinary and Agricultural Assets of the Finger Lakes -


Canandaigua, NY It doesn’t get any spicier than this! In an effort to highlight the culinary and agricultural bounty of the Finger Lakes Region, tourism executives and food producers in Ontario, Wayne and Livingston counties, the Canandaigua Wine Trail and the New York Wine & Culinary Center have joined forces to create a unique event, sure to tempt the palates of culinary connoisseurs and novice foodies alike.


Slice, Dice & Spice, NY is an Iron Chef-like competition that takes place during National Tourism Week, May 12 – 15, 2008 in Canandaigua, N.Y., at the revered New York Wine & Culinary Center.  For three days (May 12-14), professional chefs will be teamed up in preliminary competitions with nine amateur teams, featuring community members, media representatives, local dignitaries, and Wannabe chefs. 


On the final day (May 15), the top three teams will compete in an Iron Chef-like competition to determine the 2008 winner. Teams will be asked to create a meal using common “Market Basket” ingredients, plus one secret ingredient. All of these will be products of the region from local farmers and food producers. Wine pairings will be made from the Canandaigua Wine Trail encompassing several local wineries.


Sponsors of featured products and market basket products include: American Dairy Association, NY Beef Industry Council, Barilla America, Inc., Hartmann’s Old World Sausage, Golden Oaks Food, Honeyhill Farm, Naples Valley Brand Products, Bejo Seeds, Red Jacket Orchards, Arbor Hill, Baldwin Richardson Foods and The Birkett Mills.

Voting criteria will include the teams’ ability to plan a creative menu highlighting the main elements of the meal, use of Market Basket ingredients and the surprise ingredient and wine pairing. Successful teams will also be those whose chef demonstrates, and then delegates, to his/her amateurs. 

Participating chefs include: Bryan Garrison - Brown Hound Bistro; Ryan Abbey - Geneva on the Lake; Ian McBride - Big Tree Inn; Tim Stephens – Pultneyville Grill; Eric Mueller – Warfield’s; Gretta Pagorek - The Vines @ Naples Hotel; Brian Simmons - The Yard of Ale; Dominick Dardano – Casa de Pasta and Cory Collins from Keenan’s. Chefs will be teamed with local media celebrities, area dignitaries, and wanna-be Chefs. 


Judges include: Jeff Christiano, Chef Instructor, NY Wine & Culinary Center; Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef, Barilla America; Michael Bucher, Hartmann’s Old World Sausage; Robert Downey, III, Chef at the Ramada Inn Geneva; Howard VanBuren, American Dairy Association; Lloyd Kinnear, NY State Beef Council; Mark Makovec, Chef at Wegmans; Melody McGinley Whitelaw, WOR Radio Home Guest Chef; Peter Parts, Co-founder & chairman Finger Lakes International Wine Competition; Noah Sheetz, Executive Chef, New York State Executive Mansion; Michael Warren Thomas, host of WYSL 1040 AM’s The Grapevine and Discover the Finger Lakes, and Deb Whiting from Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty.


Tickets to the finals are available online at Tickets are $50 in advance and $55 at the door. Price includes over 30 tasting stations, live music, awards ceremony, and Cutco Cutlery and Canandaigua Wine Trail door prizes.


For more information, contact the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection at 877-386-4669 or visit


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