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The ultimate food and cocktail in the making

Posted: November 4th, 2013 | Downtown Drink Shrink, Featured, Food & Drink | 2 Comments

Jeff Josenhans | Drink Shrink

On September 26, the Chef Showdown took place at Liberty Station in Point Loma, one of the most exciting annual fundraisers San Diego has to offer, that features exciting culinary and mixology expertise and action in true Iron Chef fashion.

Amy Diabase, chef at Paradise Point, led the winning team for the culinary celebrities, which also included Chef Scotty Wagner of Chi Cuisine and Laurie Sauer of Georges, and I completed the team, allowing Grant Grill to take home the grand prize for the third time as Mixology Food Pairing Champion. The event embodies the type of collaboration needed to create an inspirational and perfectly executed food and beverage pairing.

(l to r) Chef Scotty Wagner, Chef Laurie Sauer and Sommelier and Mixologist Jeff Josenhans after winning the 2013 Chef Showdown. (Photo by Katie Wooley)

(l to r) Chef Scotty Wagner, Chef Laurie Sauer and Sommelier and Mixologist Jeff Josenhans after winning the 2013 Chef Showdown. (Photo by Katie Wooley)

Teams come up with a concept or general direction, create recipes and back-up recipes, and then flex what they need to do on stage live once they get the secret ingredient from the judges. The mixologists do the same and start communicating about the timing of when the drinks will be shaken and stirred so that drinks are put out to the judges at exactly the same time that food is plated.

This is an annual event that should not be missed every fall here in San Diego!

One of our annual fall favorite drinks at Grant Grill is called the Smashing Pumpkin, which has a great balance of spice, fruit and acidity. This rum and Grand Marnier infused delight was recently featured on the Food Network. Come try one for yourself before they are no longer being poured.

With all this inspiration, I encourage all of you to try some cocktail and food pairings at home.

You like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Try making peanut butter cookies this year and create a cocktail using your favorite berries (email me and I will help with tips).

The Grant Grill’s seasonal Smashing Pumpkin (Courtesy Grant Grill)

The Grant Grill’s seasonal Smashing Pumpkin (Courtesy Grant Grill)

You like turkey and cranberry sauce? Try using some fresh cranberries to make a mojito variation. Just think of what combinations you already like and adapt with spices at home. Generally speaking, darker spirits pair better with heavier dishes but of course it all depends on how you mix it.

The Grant Grill will offer their annual Mixology Dinner for one week starting December 7, if you still want to see how the pros do it, so don’t miss that opportunity if you want to try a memorable tasting menu featuring innovative cocktails right here in Downtown.

A Level 2 CMS Sommelier and Master Mixologist, Josenhans has changed the dynamic at The Grant Grill Downtown from a classic institution to an exciting lounge and elegant restaurant. Taking the kitchen’s “Farm to Table” philosophy to the bar, he has developed a seasonal cocktail program based largely on the hotel’s rooftop garden. He can be reached at jeff.josenhans@luxurycollection.com.

 

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