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Ghost Tree Invitational Chefs Share Their Passion


Combine golf, a celebrity and a silent auction and a world-class dinner from Central Oregon chefs at Pronghorn resort and you get the Ghost Tree Invitational, a benefit for three local children’s charities.

At Saturday night’s Dinner on the Range, it was all about the food, and one of the old hats at this event, chef and restaurateur Gavin McMichael of The Blacksmith and Bourbon Street Bend.

“With Bourbon Street we did a huge pot of jambalaya. It’s shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken with spice and rice. It is just wonderful, people are loving it,” McMichael said.

Like all chefs right now, the hot word for McMichael is “local.”

Local produce and meat from Central Oregon farms — he’s even found local crawfish for his new Cajun-inspired eatery, Bourbon Street.

Three hours off the boat, those succulent little crustaceans are in his kitchen.

It’s part of his love of living in Central Oregon.

“It’s come a long way in the last five, six, seven years,” McMichael told us.

“Bend is one of those places that draws a lot of people all over the country,” he said. “It’s a great place to live, and so it’s brought a lot of people from different markets and food here, and has a lot of influence.”

Our award for best presentation goes to Marcos Rodriguez of Hola! Restaurant in Bend.

His Peruvian shrimp skewers were served vertically in a knotty piece of driftwood and were perfectly spicy.

So what is the one ingredient that people can add to their Hispanic or Peruvian food that’s going to give it it’s bang for its buck?

“You’ve got to spice it up,” Rodriguez said. “In Mexico, we have jalapenos and serranos, and on the Peruvian side we have the picquillo peppers. You gotta spice it up.”

Winner of Best Place to have a Bloody Mary in the Source Weekly newspaper, Chef Josh Podwils of the Victorian Caf wanted to wow the crowd with a different take on the Vic’s signature dish.

“It’s miniature sage duck Benedict on a rosemary baguette with Hollandaise and marionberry sauce,” says Podwils. “I love it when people come up here and taste and try something new. If they’ve never had duck, people are usually impressed and come back for a second and third.”

For a good eggs Benedict, he said, never, ever use the powder packets. Just whip together clarified butter, egg yolks, white wine, lemon juice, and a dash of Chalula.

And guess who was a big fan of that duck?

Mr. Ricky Watters himself, Superbowl champ running back for the 49ers and Seahawks.

“Everything’s good, but I’m kind of carnivorous, so the meat is exceptional. It melts off the bone and melts in your mouth — it’s like butter baby!” gushed Watters.

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