Cooking for a Cause!

It is part of our mission at The Inn at Pleasant Lake to make a strong contribution within the communities we serve.  When Chef Bryan Leary spoke with the team about the Steel Chef Challenge (#steelchef) to support the New Hampshire Food Bank, we were immediately excited to be a part of this great cause to feed families that are food insecure right here in our state of New Hampshire. Imagine how much more excited we were when Chef Bryan progressed through the selection process and became one of only four finalists to appear live on stage with celebrity chef Robert Irvine and an audience of over 600 people!  What a great honor to be chosen for this event!

Chef Leary cooking at Steel Chef Challenge

The place was packed and our host Robert Irvine whipped the crowd into a frenzy as he introduced the finalists as they took to their stations to prepare for the main event.  It is amazing how intense 20 minutes of competitive cooking can be!  The audience was engaged to select two proteins for the chefs to work with and a surprise central ingredient.  We chose salmon and duck, and (prepare yourself for this)……Captain Crunch cereal!  With only 20 minutes to craft, prepare and plate two dishes, these chefs were under incredible pressure, with over 600 people watching their every move.  All the while, Chef Irvine offered commentary on the chef’s techniques and choices to build the anticipation amongst the crowd.  It was riveting to watch as the clock ticked down.

Steel Chef Challenge Judges presentation

The panel of three judges was not to be disappointed!  Chef Bryan prepared a traditional New England Johnny Cake using the central ingredient and the salmon, topped with a mango parsley lemon salsa.  The pan-seared duck breast was prepared with a mushroom ginger pan sauce. Add the broccoli and cauliflower tops cous cous and what a dish!! The judges described his Salmon Johnny Cake as the most creative use of the key ingredient “Cap’t Crunch”, and declared that he made “bold choices with the flavors that were perfectly balanced”. The event raised a ton of money for the New Hampshire food bank, with such auction items as Chef Irvine’s Chef coat right off his back, which went for over $4,000!

Steel Chef Challenge 2017

In addition to Chef Bryan’s role on stage we also had two members of our team supporting the event by volunteering their time and working their tails off.  We wanted to thank Jess B. and Sam H. for their contributions.  We are so proud of our whole team and the opportunity to participate in this fantastic event for such a great cause.

You can experience Chef Leary’s creativity and talent Wednesday – Sunday nights at our #1 rated restaurant at the Inn at Pleasant Lake. Call for reservations 603-526-6271.