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Culinary Cook-Off

Parker Palm Springs Executive Chef Herve Glin wins a spot to compete at San Diego's KAABOO Rock’n Chef Competition.

Lori Cohen-Sanford Restaurants, Watch & Listen - Restaurants

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Herve Glin probably doesn’t get too many nights off as executive chef at Parker Palm Springs, but he will be asking his boss to make an exception in mid-September.

Glin created a stellar three-course menu Aug. 15 as voted on by a panel of his peers to earn a trip to the U.S. finals of the KAABOO Rock’n Chef Competition in San Diego, beating out Chef Michael Beckman of Workshop Kitchen + Bar in a regional cook-off at Triada Palm Springs.

“I’m excited for our team of four to go and work together,” Glin says. “I think my boss will give us the night off.”

Chef’s Plate culinary competitions are billed as, the ultimate traveling chef competitions to select six final competitors representing different regions of the United States. Glin will be part of the final group to advance to the KAABOO Music Festival to compete in the Rock’n Chef competition Sept. 17. This is the second season of Chef’s Plate competitions, which kicked off in February this year in Houston and then traveled to Napa, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and finished in Palm Springs.

Chef Herve Glin garnishes his opening dish of grilled steak medallions and Maine lobster, accompanied by pickled mini-vegetables.

The U.S. champion of KAABOO Rock’n Chef will be sent to the World Food Championships in November and compete for a chance to win $100,000 and other prizes.

Glin points to preparation and team collaboration as secrets to his success. “I worked with a team of about 10 people over the past two weeks to prepare, working up to the last minute to come up with a winning menu,” he says.

But his real competitive advantage? “I am French,” he smiles.

For the Palm Springs competition, Glin and Beckman were given a list of featured ingredients to incorporate into each course, and given creative license to show off their own brand of culinary style.

The judging panel included Chef Christopher Anderson from SO.PA in Palm Springs; Chef Jordan Snider from Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego; Chef Thomas Horner from J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert; Chef Kurt Metzger from Spotted Cow in San Diego; and Chef Francois Gaertner from Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert.

VIDEO: Watch Chefs Herve Glin and Michael Beckman duel for honors.

The first course featured Creekstone Farms prime hanger steak. Chef Beckman translated this into a raw tartare preparation, topped with a quick-pickled quail egg. Chef Glin shared a palate opener of Roasted Corn Soup with Jalapeno Oil, and followed with an elevated version of “Surf and Turf” featuring grilled steak medallions and Maine lobster, accompanied by pickled mini-vegetables.

The second course highlighted Maple Leaf Farms duck, which was prepared two ways by each chef. Chef Beckman opted for a starter course of house-made Kimchi Fried Rice, fried in duck fat and duck-leg confit. Grilled Duck Breast served with whole roasted carrots and black garlic.

The dining area inside Triada Palm Springs.

In keeping with his French culinary style, Chef Glin was “looking for flavor and tried to give flavor,” by rendering the duck fat and resting it properly to retain its juices. A classic French mousse of Truffled Foie Gras delivered richness and decadence. His second preparation incorporated Campanelle Pasta with braised duck, chanterelle mushrooms and leeks.

The final course was an ode to chocolate and the dessert presentation clearly defined the unique culinary styles of each competitor. Chef Beckman chose a deconstructed visual, presenting a plate with a rectangle of bittersweet Chocolate Terrine accompanied by a cannelle of Peanut Butter Ice Cream resting on a bed of salted, crushed peanuts. Mango Relish dusted with Piment d’Espelette offered a balance of tang and heat.

In the tradition of French pastry, Chef Glin closed with an elegant, Chocolate Hazelnut Dome, encased in dark chocolate and garnished with a freeze-dried mandarin segment and a visually-stunning, gold-leaf spray.

KAABOO Rock’n Chef Competition, Sept. 17, www.chefsroll.com/events/kaaboo-rockn-chef-competition

View a photo gallery of the event.