By Brainerd Dispatch at 9:19 a.m.
LITTLE FALLS—Three central Minnesota chefs competed in a live cooking competition featuring mystery ingredients Friday, May 10, in front of a large crowd in Little Falls.
Taking home the 2019 Master Chef title at the Sprout-hosted event "Minced: The Finer Version of Chopped" was Mateo Mackbee of Model Citizen the Restaurant in New London. Also competing in the final round was Jenna Brower Von Siebolds of Prairie Bay Grill in Baxter, and eliminated after two rounds of competition was Tom Kavanaugh, representing the ProStart Program at Pillager High School.
This was the second year Sprout produced the live entertainment, which resembles the popular Food Network show "Chopped."
Chefs did not know ahead of time what mystery ingredients they would cook with, and ingredients represented and celebrated East African food culture. Ingredients were sourced from Somali grocery stores in St. Cloud and included goat meat, guava drink, black tea, Ethiopian spiced coffee mix and more.
Mackbee edged Brower Von Siebolds in the dessert round, impressing judges with his Ethiopian-style pancake topped with a bananas Foster topping and a fresh berry sauce. Brower Von Siebolds took home the People's Choice Award, voted on by the attending audience.
In addition to Model Citizen the Restaurant, Mackbee is also developing a new restaurant, Krewe, as well as a bakery in the 24 North Lofts in St. Joseph. The restaurant will feature a New Orleans-style menu, while the bakery will make French and Scandinavian pastries.
Judging the competition were Tomas Zimmerman, owner and chef of A.T. The Black & White Restaurant in Little Falls; Habso J. Mohamud, author of "It Only Takes One Yes!"; Meadow Roberts, 11-year-old contestant from Food Network's Kids Baking Championship; and Kara Carlisle of the McKnight Foundation.
The event was hosted by 2018 Master Chef Scotty Stocco and Brainerd Dispatch Community Editor Chelsey Perkins.
Minced was partially funded through a grant awarded to the Region Five Development Commission by ArtPlace America's National Creative Placemaking Fund. This event was presented by Sprout MN, Region Five Development Commission, Central Lakes College and Three Cheers Hospitality.
For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2vQPfqf.