Have you heard about HopChef? HopChef is our national culinary competition. We hold a handful of events around the country in major metro areas, challenging beer-forward chefs to create a perfect pairing with one of our beers.
Last October, we held a small HopChef event at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. That’s where we met Chef Jensen Cummings. He won the Denver event and then 10 months later he came to Cooperstown and took home the national title at our HopChef Finale at BCTC last weekend.
Denver’s Jensen Cummings wins HopChef title at BCTC
Brewery Ommegang and SAVEUR Magazine’s 2014 HopChef season ended on a delicious note on August 9 in Cooperstown, NY with a fierce competition between four regional HopChef winners. In the end, Jensen Cummings, of Denver’s The BSide, edged out his competitors with his dish of Tender Belly pork meatballs paired with Witte, Ommegang’s award-winning wheat ale.
Cummings’ competition included Chef Sean Brasel of Meat Market Miami in Miami, Chef Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle in Philadelphia, and Chef Johnny Sheehan of New World Tavern in Plymouth, MA. Each chef won a HopChef competition in their respective cities in order to compete at the finale in Cooperstown. Saturday’s competition elicited deep focus from the chefs while an exclusive group of festival attendees who secured admittance through a Facebook lottery clamored after the imaginative dishes.
“We are always blown away by the taste and presentation of the HopChefs’ dishes and this year was no exception,” said Bill Wetmore, Marketing Director for Brewery Ommegang. “Without a doubt, this was the toughest competition we’ve seen to date. The dishes were delicious and unique and each paired so perfectly with their chosen Ommegang beers. The judges really had a hard decision on their hands this year and I could have seen any of the chefs walking away with the title.”
In additional to serious bragging rights, Cummings also receives a spotlight position on the SAVEURTastemakers™ chef advisory board, a spotlight in SAVEUR Magazine & StarChefs.com editorial, a showcase with Brewery Ommegang at the StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress and a showcase station with Brewery Ommegang at the SAVEUR Summer BBQ, both in New York.
HopChef is part of Ommegang’s Great Beer Deserves Great Food® initiative — dedicated to the advancement of great beer as a perfect complement to fine fare. HopChef will make its Dallas debut on November 3 at 3015 at Trinity Groves.
While the Hop Chefs battled it out, more than 3,000 beer lovers enjoyed the rest of the festivities at “Belgium Comes to Cooperstown,” Ommegang’s annual beer festival. In its 11th year, BCTC was infused with a Vegas theme and featured more than 75 breweries and importers pouring Belgian and Belgian-style beer, a cigar tent, skydivers, circus performers, live music, and fireworks. BCTC began Friday night with a five-course VIP dinner paired with Duvel family beers.