spac-2013.JPGChef Competition Highlights "Date Night" at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet   PHOTO-VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-Up and coming chefs from around the Capital Region will converge at Saratoga Performing Arts Center for The Times Union "Grill Games" Semifinals competition as part of the Sage Colleges "Date Night" series on Thursday, July 25 at 6 pm. Admission to the chef competition and date night are free for ticketholders to the evening's 8 p.m. performance by the world-renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dance company. The amateur chefs will compete on six "Big Green Egg" grills incorporating recipes featuring beef, chicken, and pork. Led by Times Union food writer and critic Steve Barnes, the two-stage competition will culminate at the Saratoga Wine & Food and Concours d'Elegance festival on September 7, 2013. Local contestants and their recipes include:
  • o Tony Buscema (Albany, NY): Jamaican jerk pork, black beans and rice, Caribbean root vegetable medley.
  • o Eric Johnson (Slingerlands, NY): Braised and smoked beef rib, Smithwick's beer reduction, bourbon-infused sweet mashed potato, chipotle butter, pickled braised cabbage slaw.
  • o Rob Johnson (Castleton, NY): Double Play BBQ "Cheap' Chicken, roasted Southwest crossover salad, grilled Brooklyn-style potato wedges.
  • o Jill Kavanagh (Troy, NY): Teriyaki-glazed pork tenderloin stuffed with spicy grilled pineapple salsa, mango slaw, couscous.
  • o Kristin Sica (Saratoga Springs, NY): Steak fajitas, spicy chipotle mole, goat cheese-stuffed roasted tomato, roasted corn salad, cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
  • o John White (Queensbury, NY): Bone-in pork rib, raspberry-hefeweizen reduction, roasted rosemary purple potatoes, summer corn salad.
The top winner will receive a prize package courtesy of Adirondack Appliance valued at $1,700 including a large Big Green Egg grill, place setter and heat diffuser, pizza stone and rolling wood table. Prizes for other top winners will include grill and barbecue gear, gift cards and cookbooks. The competition is an added feature of this week's Sage Colleges "Date Night" Pre-Show from 6 - 8 p.m. which is highlighted by complimentary wine and food tastings and Saratoga Photobooth  photos. An 8 p.m. mixed repertory performance by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet headlines the evening. One of the premier contemporary ballet companies in America, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is marking its debut engagement at SPAC this week with three performances over the course of two days, July 24 and 25.


Photographers and members of the media are welcome and encouraged to cover the Grill Games, Date Night and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at SPAC on Thursday, July 25.