Congratulations to Executive Chef Paul Anders of Sweet Basil who nabbed first place at the Taste of Vail Lamb Cook Off, held April 4 in Vail Village. Anders slow roasted a leg of lamb and served the tender meat with preserved lemon labneh (a soft cheese made from yogurt), herb sauce, dried olives, lamb cracklins and pickled ramps.
"The inspiration for my dish is a traditional North African leg of lamb," said Chef Anders. "It started traditional but we did not leave it that way. We added pickled radishes, an herb sauce, lamb cracklings and using molecular gastronomy even made a lamb powder."
Second place went to La Tour chef/owner Paul Ferzacca for his charred Colorado leg of lamb with Leffe brune ale puffs and sauce, roasted baby beets, pickled nasturtium flowers and sorrel-infused olive oil.
Bol took home third place with its Malaysian lamb murtabak, flatbread stuffed with lamb and topped with pickled onions and a spicy sambal chili sauce. Murtabak is a common street food in Indonesia.
The People's Choice winner was Lord Gore Restaurant at Manor Vail Lodge. The restaurant served braised lamb arancini, which are fried saffron risotto rice balls topped with truffle aioli and achiote oil.
The event, held throughout the streets of Vail Village, showcased more than two dozen of the resort's finest chefs preparing an array of lamb dishes. From traditional preparation of lamb to creative recipes Vail chefs presented innovative selections showcasing Colorado lamb. Each tasting was complimented by participating wineries presenting varietals such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Zinfandel.
"We were thrilled to see the diverse and delicious ways lamb was prepared by these Vail Valley chefs," said Megan Wortman, executive director of the Denver-based American Lamb Board.