In Search of the Next Great Waldorf Astoria Menu Item
This year's Taste of Waldorf Astoria competition finals took place at the hotel's newest property in Beverly Hills.
The culinary legacy of the Waldorf Astoria hotel group extends far beyond the walls of its properties around the world. So many signature creations that made their debuts in the hotel's dining rooms are now fixtures in American food culture: Think the Waldorf salad; eggs benedict; tequila sunrise; red velvet cake—household names, every one.
Now in its third year, the Taste of Waldorf Astoria—designed to propel forward the hospitality brand's new "Fifth Hour" initiative (read: cocktails and bites)—held its final round of competition at the newly-opened Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills this week. Over the course of the past seven months, the Taste of Waldorf Astoria has collaborated with the James Beard Foundation to pair five of its Rising Star Semi-Finalists with Waldorf Astoria Master Chefs in five different property locations. The chefs spend weeks in intensive on-site research and recipe development and were tasked with creating a cocktail, a mocktail, and two "bites"—with the winning team's dishes placed on the menus at every single Waldorf Astoria property in the world for one full year.
This year's chef teams and dishes were:
Alex Bois—Lost Bread Co.
Michael Zachman—Waldorf Astoria Park City
Beet-cured trout with sweet potato blinis, cucumber and dill paired with a rye whiskey mimosa; Tempura shrimp with togarashi aioli and pickled Asian pear paired with a ginger yuzu pearl mo(ck)jito
Maxmillian Petty—Eden Hill, Seattle
Rudolf W. Segers—Waldorf Astoria Ral Al Khaimah
Scallop with caviar and quinoa polenta paired with the "Big Apple" cocktail; Marinated beef tataki paired with the "Asian Queen" tomato mocktail
Irene Shiang Li—Mei Mei, Boston
Ryan Urig—Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Resort
The loco moco with pork belly, sausage, rinds, crispy rice cake, grilled lemon and pineapple "egg" paired with the "Supermoon" cocktail, featuring squid ink, Paniolo whiskey, pineapple, lemon and vanilla; Kona crab, lime leaf ahi, nuoc Cham peppers, avocado and squid ink bread paired with the "Pau-erage" / "The Clock Watcher" mocktail featuring double-strength coffee, lemon and cane juice
Sara Hauman—Octavia, San Francisco
Andrew Roenbeck—Boca Raton Resort & Club
Kobe beef carpaccio paired with a specialty cocktail featuring rum zacapa, Six Grapes Reserve Porto, a honey ginger and lemongrass syrup, orange liqueur and jasmine green tea; Angry American lobster paired with a mocktail of loose-leaf jasmine green tea and blood orange sour and spicy ginger, lemongrass and honey syrup
Bradley Kilgore—Alter, Miami
Frédéric Larquimin—Trianon Palace Versailles
Puffed barbajuan paired with the "Sun King" cocktail featuring passion fruit snow, finger lime "caviar," lemon confit and vodka; Terrine d'or with foie bras rillette presse, celeriac, horseradish and apple paired with the "Prommer de Parfum" cocktail, featuring gala apple, bergamot essence and cedar tea
And the 2017 winner of the Taste of Waldorf Astoria is: the team from the Waldorf Astoria Park City, Alex Bois and Michael Zachman. Congratulations all around!
Danica Lo / Food & Wine