Another Top Chef Competition at Bite of Bend has come and gone, leaving delicious memories in its wake (and for us judges the residual heartburn and sunburn that go along with them!). For the first time, we had a repeat champion, Kokanee Café's Roscoe Roberson, this time sans cowboy hat and black eye. In a change of format, the winner of the first three rounds - which turned out to be the intrepid Rich Hall from Marz - went up against last year's champ for the title. You have to give it to Roberson for handily sweeping in to snatch the trophy out of Hall's hands with his take on oysters. Or maybe the hero of the day was first timer and personal chef Lisa Glickman, who lost by just one point after stepping off the judges' panel at the eleventh hour to compete when another chef backed out. But props have to go to also-ran Rich Hall for taking out three worthy opponents in dramatic fashion. In a rematch from last year, Dave Hattfield from Café 3456 fell in a battle of buffalo steaks. In a tie broken by the judges, Hall smote private chef Joe Morgan with his jumbo shrimp prowess. And in the semi final, the talented Dean Ecker of Black Butte couldn't answer the massive flavor of Hall's beef tenderloin-wrapped scallop. Congratulations, Roscoe, but don't get too comfortable at the top. I'm sure they'll be gunning for you next year!
- Alice Finer