By Sheila McCoy - Staff Writer - firstname.lastname@example.org - Morrison County Record
Three chefs — Thomas Kavanaugh, Jenna Brower Von Siebolds and Matéo Mackbee, are getting ready to compete in Sprout’s second annual “Minced.” event — the finer version of “Chopped.”
The live cooking competition will be held at Sprout, 609 13th Ave. NE, Door 8, in Little Falls, Friday, May 10, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Racing against time, the chefs will be making three courses — an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. Only one can be named “Master Chef” while the others get “Minced.”
The chefs come from different culinary backgrounds and are each given a box with a set of mystery ingredients.
Figuring out what to make with the mystery ingredients within 20 minutes can be quite a challenge, last year’s winner, Master Chef Scotty Stocco knows all too well.
Last year, he and the other remaining opponent were given pork rinds to use with the dessert they were making.
Creatively, Stocco ground the pork rinds and sprinkled it over the desert.
Stocco is returning to Minced this year. Not to impress the judges with his culinary skills, but to emcee the event.
“Winning the first Minced competition was a great honor and being invited to host the second is sublime,” he said.
Natalie Keane, who is the facility utilization director at Sprout, is looking forward to seeing how the chefs will do in the event. She is familiar with all three chefs.
Chef Thomas Kavanaugh has 42 years of experience in the culinary arts and is representing the ProStart program at Pillager High School.
“He is the mentor for the program at the high school that do culinary arts training for the students. Those students showcased Thomas’ skills because they went on to win third place at the state competition, the Minnesota ProStart Invitational,” Keane said.
Chef Jenna Brower Von Siebolds works as a chef at the “Prairie Bay Grill” in Baxter and with six years has the least amount of experience in the culinary arts compared to the other chefs.
“You wouldn’t know it though by tasting her food because she cooks as if she has been traveling around the globe for years,” Keane said. “She has a wanderlust style of cooking and likes to incorporate different techniques and ingredients from various culinary cultures.”
Matéo Mackbee is a chef at the “Model Citizen the Restaurant” in New London and specialize in “farm to table” as he works with a lot of the local growers. He is also planning to open a new restaurant and bakery in St. Joseph.
With 13 years of experience as a chef, Mackbee prepares primarily creole and cajun dishes — in New Orleans style.
“What is fun about the competition is that you see the chefs and maybe you have been to their restaurants before, but in the heat of the competition, working against the timer, anyone can really come out on top,” Keane said.
This year, the style of food Sprout is highlighting for the event is east African cuisine. “I think that will be a fun twist to the event,” she said.
The dishes the chefs prepare will be judged by four people. One of the judges, Meadow Roberts, is a 10-year-old girl from Minneapolis, who competed in the Food Network Kids Baking Championship.
Habso J. Mohamud is an author from St. Cloud and wrote the children’s book, “It Only Takes One Yes!”
The third judge is none other than Tomas Zimmerman, the celebrity chef who is co-owner of the A.T. The Black and White restaurant in Little Falls.
The Minced event’s celebrity guest and judge is Kara Carlisle from the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis.
Keane said she is looking forward to the event.
“It is the best live entertainment,” she said.
Those who visit Minced will have the opportunity to watch a special preview of Common Ground’s final episode at 4:30 p.m. and at 9 p.m.