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Blog PostMasterChef Competition

The 2023 Treasure Coast MasterChef Competition was a Huge Success!

We hosted our 1st Annual Treasure Coast MasterChef Competition at Indian River State College in Vero Beach on Wed, March 8th & 22nd, 2023! It’s an event that highlights some of the Best Chefs on the Treasure Coast!  On December 1st, 2022, we started accepting applications for the competition. Chefs who are currently residing and working on the Treasure Coast and have a minimum of three years of experience in the culinary industry were eligible to apply. We received numerous applications and selected eight chefs to compete in the preliminary round, which took place on Wednesday, March 8th. A panel of industry experts tasted and judged the chefs’ signature appetizers, and selected the Top 4 to move on to the finale, which took place on Wed, March 22nd. At the finale, each chef created a signature “MasterChef” worthy entree for our guests and our judges to taste and vote for their favorite! A final dessert course was provided by Cake & Crescent, a new cottage bakery in Vero Beach. At the end of the evening, Thomas Miller, aka The Treasure Coast Foodie, presented our winners with a Judge’s Choice and a People’s Choice trophy at the awards ceremony!

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I’d like to personally say THANK YOU to our event sponsors, without them, events like this are not possible! Kyle G’s Restaurants, CW Willis Family Farms, Treasure Coast Almanac, Cake & Crescent, and Wonderstruck Wedding & Event Planning!

Now let’s jump right in and take a look at a few photos from the event and see who won the MasterChef title!

Indian River State College banquet hall located on the Mueller Campus in Vero Beach florida

The Indian River State College Banquet Hall is where the event took place.

 The students and chefs work together in an assembly-line fashion to build Chef Ted’s MasterChef dish!

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Indian River State College culinary students work alongside a chef to plate his masterchef dish for a local chef competition that took place on the Mueller campus in vero beach florida

The image above captures the collaborative efforts of culinary students as they work together to add each component to a MasterChef contestant’s dish.

Close up of chef kaz kidwell from Kilted Mermaids dish being plated at the treasure coast masterchef competition that took place on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

The image above shows Chef Kaz Kidwell’s dish being plated before service to the judges and guests!

a hospitality student carries a try of food to hungry diners that attended the treasure coast masterchef competition at the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Banquet class students worked in the dining room to deliver plates of food to our guests and judges!

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The final dessert course (not judged), was a wonderful Sticky Toffee Pudding cake, which was expertly crafted by Cake & Crescent’s owner, Brittany O’Leary, providing a delightful conclusion to a wonderful evening.

Our "Official" Judges Panel (Left to Right) - Thomas Miller (event organizer), Chef Chris Bireley, Chef Dylan Balducci, Alex Meyers the Host, and MasterChef Chris Paul at the treasure coast masterchef competition that took place on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Our “Official” Judges Panel (Left to Right) – Thomas Miller (event organizer), Chef Chris Bireley, Chef Dylan Balducci, Alex Meyers the Host, and MasterChef Chris Paul. A Thank You gift box for each judge was provided by The Marketplace Fudge & More from Sebastian, FL.

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Five masterchef tropies on a table in front of the indian river state college logo for the masterchef competition that took place on the mueller campus in vero beach florida

Trophies for The Treasure Coast MasterChef Competition!

Now on to the Awards!

4th Place – Chef Kaz Kidwell – Kilted Mermaid

masterchef competition dish created by chef kaz kidwell from kilted mermaid Duck, Duck, Goose - Duck Confit and Taleggio Cheese Stuffed Seared Duck Breast with Fondant Parsnips, Parsnip/Butternut Squash Puree, Braised Baby Bok Choy, and a Gooseberry/Wine Reduction on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Duck, Duck, Goose – Duck Confit and Taleggio Cheese Stuffed Seared Duck Breast with Fondant Parsnips, Parsnip/Butternut Squash Puree, Braised Baby Bok Choy, and a Gooseberry/Wine Reduction.

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Chef Kaz Kidwell from Kilted Mermaid standing next to Thomas Miller the treausre coast foodie at the masterchef competition on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

(Left to Right) Chef Kaz Kidwell and Thomas Miller.

3rd Place – Chef Red Ballamy – Reds Kitchen Food Truck

a plate of food Pork Tenderloin served with Burnt Miso Butterscotch, Confit Potatoes, Arugula Salad, and Sriracha Powder. on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Pork Tenderloin served with Burnt Miso Butterscotch, Confit Potatoes, Arugula Salad, and Sriracha Powder.

chef red bellamy and thomas miller at the awards presentation for the masterchef competition that took place at indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

(Left to Right) – Chef Red Ballamy and Thomas Miller.

2nd Place – Chef Damon Steffens – Riverwalk Cafe & Oyster Bar

a plate of food Seared Scallop over Braised Kale Sprouts with Crab and Gruyère Potato Dauphinois. Accompanied with Lobster Bisque Gravy then finished with Saffron Aioli and American Paddlefish Caviar for the treasure coast masterchef competition that took place on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Seared Scallop over Braised Kale Sprouts with Crab and Gruyère Potato Dauphinois. Accompanied with Lobster Bisque Gravy then finished with Saffron Aioli and American Paddlefish Caviar.

chef damon steffens and thomas miller at the awards ceremony for the treasure coast masterchef competition on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

(Left to Right) – Chef Damon Steffens and Thomas Miller.

1st Place – Chef Ted Faulkner – Faulkner’s Flavors

a plate of food Head to Tail - Corned Beef Tongue ~ Rye Stuffed Cabbage, 1000 Island Roasted Strip Loin ~ Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Peas ‘n Carrots, Marchand du Vin Sauce Oxtail Strudel ~ Toy Box Mushrooms, Pomegranate Gastrique created by chef ted faulkner of faulkner's flavors for the treasure coast masterchef competition that took place on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Head to Tail – Corned Beef Tongue ~ Rye Stuffed Cabbage, 1000 Island Roasted Strip Loin ~ Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Peas ‘n Carrots, Marchand du Vin Sauce Oxtail Strudel ~ Toy Box Mushrooms, Pomegranate Gastrique.

chef ted faulker and thomas miller at the treasure coast masterchef competition awards ceremony on the indian river state college mueller campus vero beach florida

(Left to Right) – Chef Ted Faulkner and Thomas Miller.

People’s Choice – Chef Ted Faulkner – Faulkner’s Flavors

chef ted faulkner with both the 1st place and people's choice treasure coast masterchef competition tropieis on the indian river state college mueller campus in vero beach florida

Chef Ted Faulkner with both the 1st Place and People’s Choice Trophies!

A HUGE THANK YOU to the following folks that helped make this event possible!

a group photos of the director of the program, chef instructor, and culinary and hospitality students of Indian river state college mueller campus pose for a group photo at the end of the evening treasure coast masterchef competition that took place in vero beach florida

A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the Indian River State College for their participation in our event. These students did a fantastic job of helping us make the event successful! Their participation counts towards the degree they are working towards. (Left to Right) – Anthony Garcia, Fio Gallagher, Emma Janes, Chef Austin Miller (Apprentice Instructor & Kitchen Manager for the event), Shaddainah Lalanne, Eddy Garcia, Morgan Jones, Gabrielle Carpenter, Jimmy Mikovsky, Leah Sylvander, Elijah Defazio, Heather Sceiczina, Ariana Sanchez, Robert Shannon Osteen, Blanca Compton, Elizabeth Mickelsen (Lab Assistant), Alex Camacho, & Chef Deb Midkiff (Culinary & Hospitality Program Chair, Instructor). Kneeling in front is Dr. Suzanne Bagnera, PhD, Director of the Hospitality Institute.

A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to the student scholarship fund to assist those who need financial assistance to enroll in the program.

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Thomas Miller

My name is Thomas Miller, aka “The Treasure Coast Foodie” and “The Foodie Guy” and now the host and producer of the brand new show called Holy Grail Eats! I’ve been a professional food blogger for the past 9 years and I’m very passionate about finding “Holy Grail” dishes and supporting local mom-and-pop and one of a kind restaurants! I’ve reviewed over 300 local restaurants in the last 9 years and my food photos are devoured by 10’s of thousands each month on my website treasurecoastfoodie.com. As a Google Maps Level 8 Local Guide, I have submitted over 4,000 photos that have been viewed over 90 million times. My foodie following is over 125,000 strong on the Treasure Coast and my Foodie dining experience events are some of the Top Culinary experiences on the Treasure Coast!

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