Want someone to vote for you? Then give 'em a candy bar.
As their entry into the chef's competition (divided into appetizer and dessert categories), Blue Star pastry chef Alicia Prescott and crew provided a diverse table of beautiful, miniature, housemade chocolates and candies. (Get it? Candy bar).
In the savory category, chef Bill Sherman of Amuzé Bistro won his third Glass Slipper award inside the four years the event has existed, this year's people's choice for Best Appetizer. (He won best app in 2007 and best dessert in 2009.) His dish, the Three Little Pigs Cassoulet, consisted of roasted suckling pig atop a white bean stew which included smoked ham and Colorado-raised Russian wild boar sausage, all drizzled in chive oil and sun-dried tomato paprika oil.
Not to detract from these audience-voted winners — who rightly deserve acclaim — but Indy intern Bryce Crawford and I agreed on two other outfits as our personal favorites from the evening.
First, in the appetizer category, Brother Luck from the Cheyenne Mountain Resort produced a surprising and totally unique chevre cheescake cube with a bacon jam walnut crust. (This from the guy who last year served a white-chocolate-butter-covered lobster tail at the Colorado Springs Chorale's Chef's Gala. The Gala, by the way, is coming up on Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Broadmoor and tickets are still available.)
Second, in the dessert category, Margarita at PineCreek's Eric Viedt and Cathy Werle wrestled with a dry-ice cooler full of citrus-espresso mascarpone semifreddo which they paired with a chocolate Sacher Torte and candied beets and orange rind.
Proceeds generated by this annual dine-and-dance benefit the Zonta Club of the Pikes Peak Area , which is part of a global organization dedicated to advancing the status of women. This year, Zonta named TESSA, a local nonprofit working against domestic violence and sexual assault, as its major recipient of Glass Slipper Ball monies.
If you've never attended one of these foodie fundraisers built around the talents of our local chefs, let me briefly explain the format: Dress up nice; nab a vacation package or more modest silent auction item; walk from booth-to-booth gathering food samples (returning to your table to quickly dine-and-dash); vote for your favorite chefs and dishes and then dance off the full belly.
Though pricey, the evening makes for a great date night and your contribution goes to a good cause. According to Pikes Peak area Zonta Club president Laura Stamp, the roughly 350 attendees helped raise nearly $23,000 in proceeds.
Stamp says the event managed to draw the same number of attendees as last year, a surprise in this economy. "Flat is the new up — and that's a victory," she jokes, quoting something Craftwood Inn chef Jeff Knight quipped to her.