Edible Monterey Bay

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Winners of the Foragers Festival Fungus Face-off

January 21, 2020 – All those who attended the Fungus Face-Off at the Big Sur River Inn last weekend went home winners—with their bellies full of mushroom goodness and their hearts warmed by local wines.

But participating chefs tried to outdo each other in the good natured competition to benefit the Big Sur Health Center and here are those winners:

Chef Nick Balla of Coast Big Sur was awarded judge’s choice Best of Show for his curried squash soup with wild herb za’atar and matsutake mushroom oil.

Chef Eric Piacentine of Big Sur Bakery won the People’s Choice Award for his savory mushroom custard, made with mushroom-crab broth with local chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms.

Chef Jonny Black of Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn won the award for Best Use of Foraged Ingredients for his dish composed of: shiitake mushroom, toasted, rice, ginger and yuzu tea; candycap and porcini mushroom biscotti; and Big Sur Cheese from Stepladder Creamery on a rye cracker with a mushroom butterscotch topped with á la grecque mushrooms

Chef Eduardo Coronel of Rio Grill took the prize for Most Imaginative Dish for his wild mushroom taco with quinoa, smoked avocado foam, lime and cilantro, in a truffle corn tortilla. 

In the wine competition, the top white wine award went to Paul Lato Wines for its “Le Souvenir” 2017 Chardonnay, while the top red award went to I. Brand & Family Wines for its 2016 Brosseau Vineyard Grenache. Enjoy some of our favorite photos below.

The winning soup from chef Nick Balla (photo: Shelby Lambert)
Chef Eric Piacentine of Big Sur Bakery (photo: Deborah Luhrman)
Mycologist Chad Hyatt leads a mushroom hike (photo: Deborah Luhrman)
The team from Montrio Bistro (photo: Jim Pinckney)
Chef Jonny Black of Sierra Mar and judge Wendy Brodie (photo: Jim Pinckney)

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At Edible Monterey Bay, our mission is to celebrate the local food cultures of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties, season by season.