Homemade duck sausage is not found on the menu at Cuba Libre, but chef Scott McLeod is well-versed in the art of charcuterie.
He was one of 10 local chefs who gave it their best shot last night by interpreting "comfort food" for an invitation-only crowd of WMGK listeners at John DeBella's seventh annual Comfort Food Fest. Adding to the comfort were beer pairings.
McLeod's "Biscuits and Gravy" (duck sausage, duck gravy, brie-chive biscuits, satsuma tangerine and peppercres) won the night, according to judges Mike Jerrick (of Fox29), cookbook author Hope Cohen, and Philly.com's Michael Klein.
Besides McLeod, the lineup was:
Parxgrill at Parx Casino: chef Frank Perko's Grandma’s Sunday Chicken Dinner in a Shell- Chicken Osso Bucco, cornbread stuffing, crispy sweet potato, baked in a pasta shell with a chicken veloute. Beer: Magic Hat #9 - Pale Ale. Judges though this was clever and well-executed.Stella Rossa: chef Anthony DiPascale's homemade Sausage sliders - Broccoli rabe and provolone stuffed sausage, sautéed peppers, onions and spicy marinara on Aversa roll. Judges thought this dish lacked ambition. Beer: Magic Hat Ticket to Rye - Rye IPA
Alla Spina: chef Patrick Szoke's maple-glazed fried chicken wings with mozzarella curd mashed potatoes. Judges raved about the crunch, though the wings may have been a touch too sweet. Beer: Magic Hat #9 - Pale Ale
El Vez: Chef Kevin Taylor's duck carnitas taco – crispy duck carnitas with mescal scented foie gras & kumquat salsa. Judges thought this was OK with an attractive presentation. Beer: Magic Hat Heart of Darkness - Stout
Pacific Prime and Viviano at Valley Forge Casino: Chef Chris Garrison's cornbread fritter stuffed with spicy, smoked porter chili & Dubliner cheddar cheese was OK. Beer: Magic Hat Heart of Darkness - Stout
JG Domestic: Chef Andrew Sabin's corned veal tongue with sauerkraut, rye crouton, IPA mustard was interesting with decent flavor. Beer: Magic Hat Ticket to Rye - Rye IPA
Pod: Chef Todd Lean's smoke and braised brisket bao buns with kimchee were OK. Beer: Magic Hat Dream Machine - India Pale Lager
Old Homestead Steak House at Borgata: Chef Romeo DiBona's “Chicken & Waffles” – Waffle-battered chicken with apple slaw, maple syrup, and candied bacon - impressed the judges. Beer: Magic Hat Circus Boy - Hefeweizen.
The Fat Ham: Chef Aaron Gottesman's deep-fried pimento mac-n-cheese was interestig, though perhaps a bit dry. Beer:Magic Hat Dream Machine - India Pale Lager