Trey Herty of Brown Butter wins Gambit's Emerging Chefs Challenge


Sous Chef Justin Ross (center) and a team from Peche Seafood Grill competed at Gambit's Emerging Chef's Challenge. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • Sous Chef Justin Ross (center) and a team from Peche Seafood Grill competed at Gambit's Emerging Chef's Challenge.

Sous Chef Trey Herty of Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar won Gambit's fourth annual Emerging Chefs Challenge Wednesday night at The Cannery. The competition featured sous chefs from 15 New Orleans restaurants including Restaurant August, Domenica, Shaya, Brennan's New Orleans, Ralph's on the Park, Peche Seafood Grill and Dick & Jenny's.

Herty prepared slow roasted pork belly with peaches, peas and ricotta.

"The chefs (at Brown Butter) told me to try to figure out something that would be accessible but original," Herty said after claiming his trophy and the $1,000 prize.

"Peaches and peas are in season, so I did that," Herty added.

Hefty developed the dish in the kitchen at Brown Butter and it was added to the menu last week.

Second place went to Chris Roberts of Sac-A-lait, who served smoked Louisiana bullfrog with corn bisque, whipped goat creme, shaved cellist figs and sichuan pepper. He has worked with bullfrog at the restaurant, including highlighting smoked bullfrog in a gumbo, but the dish at Chef's Challenge was original (it is not on the menu at the restaurant).

"I was trying to do the most off the wall thing I could think of," Roberts said. "They told me to do something that everyone would remember."

The competition had a sense of deja vu. In 2015, Brown Butter head chef Dayne Womax won the competition with a dish of beef short ribs served over grits. Sac-A-lait's head chef Brad Andries came in second with a dish of braised duck tongue and chanterelle confit. 

Sous chef Justin Ross of Peche Seafood Grill won third place for his chilled corn soup with crab and farro.

Winners were determined by ballots cast by attendees after sampling dishes. More than 500 votes were cast.

Dishes included August Sous Chef Ross Dover's red snapper crudo with peaches and lardo; Shaya Sous Chef Danny Hollier's short rib pastrami on rye bread with a pickle; Brennan's New Orleans Sous Chef Kelly Mayhew served a nduja tartine topped with greens; Domenica Sous Chef Ian Sugarman prepared wood-roasted fairytale eggplant with Gulf shrimp, heirloom tomato and nduja crumbs.

The complete list of chefs and dishes is below:

Ross Dover, Restaurant August: Gulf fish crudo with peaches, lardo and rice crackling

David Harrower, Bacchanal: Pork cheek and rice empanada

Trey Herty, Brown Butter: Slow-roasted pork belly with ricotta, peaches and peas

Danny Hollier, Shaya: Short rib pastrami on rye bread

Bryan Johnson, Avo: Tuna crudo, Calabrian chili, pear, nori and shiso

Katie Juban, Sylvain: Blue crab and brioche bread pudding with speck and peach gastrique

Taylor Lorio, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse: Duck and foie gras galantine

Kelly Mayhew, Brennan's New Orleans: Nduja tartine

Knut Mjelde, Ralph's on the Park: Blackened miso scallop, mirliton chow chow and Creole dashi

Nick Oskoian, Willa Jean: Smoked salmon and caviar-stuffed fingerling potato with broken gribiche and Louisiana caviar

Chris Roberts, Sac-A-Lait: Smoked Louisiana bullfrog with corn bisque, shaved cellist figs, sichuan pepper and whipped goat creme

Justin Ross,  Peche Seafood Grill: Chilled corn, crab and farro

Ian Sugarman, Domenica: Wood-roasted fairytale eggplant, Gulf shrimp, heirloom Tomato and nduja crumbs 

Chris Vazquez, Red Fish Grill: Scallop crudo with wild boar bacon, summer melon and preserved Meyer lemon

Michael Vissicchio, Dick & Jenny's: Plaquemines Parish redfish ceviche with jalapeno, cucumber and Creole tomato

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