ALBANY — Rebecca Swanson and Dick Thompson of Corvallis attended the the fourth annual Chef’s Show-Off event Sunday afternoon at Linn-Benton Community College to take part in a cooking class.
Albany chef Matt Bennett of Sybaris Restaurant was leading the class.
“Matt’s great, his food is good and he has a great personality,” Rebecca said.
Arthur and Areta Hart of Corvallis brought their new neighbor to the college after seeing a sign advertising the event.
“We came to partake of the samples and see what it’s all about,” Areta said. “The Mexican cheese was wonderful, very tasty with cilantro and jalapenos. This is just great fun.”
Down from Salem were Mary Pat and Mike Parker. She is the executive director of Visit Corvallis.
She enjoyed the cheese from Full Circle Creamery in Scio, while Mike preferred the hard goat cheese from Fraga Farms in Sweet Home.
Brian Littman-Smith of Philomath volunteered to work at the show-off, and after setting up tables, he wandered around to check out what was being featured.
He enjoys food and has two acres in apples and pears and when the fruit is ready, he either will make cider from it or sell it so someone else can do it.
Mennonite Village Executive Chef Mitch Rosenbaum took a short break from cooking Sunday afternoon to explain why a renowned chef wanted to work at a senior living facility.
Rosenbaum, who has been at the Mennonite Village in Albany for five months, said preparing food for the “great aging of America is a burgeoning market.” Baby Boomers retiring to live in resident homes are going to want to dine on “food that is fun and good to eat,” he said.
Two of Rosenbaum’s previous employers are Del Alma in Corvallis and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where he worked for television chef Bobby Flay.
Chef Todd Ketterman, the chair of the college’s Culinary Arts Department, wanted to participate to represent the school and to showcase products grown in the mid-valley.
“Getting ready for today was a piece of cake because I came in yesterday and did some prep and I’m also familiar with the kitchen,” he said.
He was assisted by Molly Ward of Corvallis, a second-year student, who wants a career in catering and event planning.
This year’s event had a different twist than in years’ past, said Chris Peterson, a volunteer and food columnist for the Gazette-Times. Instead of having a timed cook-off using the same ingredients from local farms, ranches and food producers, the chefs preferred to answer question posed to them by eventgoers and offer them samples of what they prepared.
Here are the featured chefs and their dishes:
Pati D’Eliseo of A Posto Personal Chefs in Newport: handmade “stained glass” pasta with fresh herbs, cheese and spring vegetables paired with Pheasant Court Winery, Philomath.
• JC Mersmann of Gathering Together Farm: brodetto with fresh seafood and vegetables paired with Tyee Winery, Corvallis.
• Mitch Rosenbaum, executive chef at the Mennonite Village: blini with cheese, vegetables and smoked shrimp paired with 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Corvallis.
• Todd Ketterman, new head of the Linn-Benton Community College Culinary Arts program: sautéed greens, carrot cake with IPA paired with Oregon Trail Brewery, Corvallis.
The Chef’s Show-Off was presented by Ten Rivers Food Web and the culinary arts department with the support of Mennonite Village, Oregon Tilth and Stahlbush Island Farms.