Dining With Denise Neil

A report from the meatloaf front lines

Meatloaf was served in tiny tasting cups. If you eat 25 bites, it's healthy, right? I had more fun than I thought possible at this Saturday’s Loaf Off, a meatloaf competition that fundraiser for Make-A-Wish that made The Anchor smell sooooooo goooooood.

I had the pleasure of serving as a judge at the event, along with chef Tanya Tandoc and local Food God Joe Stumpe. We sampled and sampled and sampled meatloaf, and amazingly, they were all so different that we were actually able to decide which ones were best.

We gave the Top Loaf prize to Don Lucero, who was recently promoted to head chef at Via Christi St. Joseph. He created his loaf in an angel food cake pan, stuffing it in the center with all sorts of cheesy goodness. You can find his recipe at the bottom of this post, and I suggest you make it a.s.a.p.

The crowd gathered to sample the loafs voted on People’s Choice and Best of Show. Eric and Diana Wittman won People’s Choice with a fabulous white-gravy topped loaf, and a team called The Smoked Loafers, lead by Philip Warren, won Best of Show. If my memory serves correct, their loaf was topped with braided bacon, and it was purty.

Several other loafs were amazing, too, including a pheasant/duck/ostrich creation by Chef Paul Freimuth at the Hyatt and a very tasty Carrabba’s loaf entered by Joe Parten.

Please enjoy my photos from the event and keep reading to find Lucero’s winning recipe.Don Lucero, the head chef at Via Christi St. Joseph, was the big winner. Here is is with Lori Stone of Make-A-Wish getting his loaf award.My co-judge Joe, preparing to dig in. Tanya Tandoc announcing the winner. Pretty sure this is the braided beauty that won Best of Show. The Hyatt's chef Paul Freimuth prepared a loaf made out of ostrich, duck and pheasant. Could not resist a shot of this meatloaf fan sitting next to us. (more…)