Brewery Ommegang’s HopChef Competition Heats Up

By Grant Puza

“If you’ve only married food with wine, perhaps you need a mistress.” – Brewery Ommegang

This statement is boldly displayed across the top of Brewery Ommegang’s website, proclaiming its enthusiasm for pairing craft beer and food. Ommegang’s Great Beer Deserves Great Food™ program embodies the concept that craft beer deserves a place at the table with food. To help promote the program and its mission, Ommegang puts on the annual HopChef competition.

Now in its third year, HopChef hosts eight competitions around the country, challenging local chefs to create a pairing with one of Ommegang’s Belgian-style ales and an original dish specifically designed around their chosen beer.

Many of the chefs choose to use the beer as an ingredient in their dishes. The pairings are judged by a panels of pros from the culinary and craft beer worlds.

The winners of each competition will battle it out for the national title at Ommegang’s brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y., on August 9, 2014. The first-place winner receives a position on the SAVEUR Tastemakers Chef Advisory Board, a chef’s station at the 2015 SAVEUR Summer BBQ, a showcase with Brewery Ommegang at StarChefs.com’s 9th Annual International Chefs Congress in New York City and a spotlight in SAVEUR Magazine.

So far, the 2014 HopChef competition has made stops in Miami and Boston, and will head to Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles. Check out the Ommegang blog to get tickets to up-coming competitions.

Photo © Elizabeth Parker 2012

grantGrant Puza is the current Craft Beer Program Intern at the Brewers Association. A Certified Beer Server and homebrewer, Grant spends most of his time educating himself further in the world of craft beer while working at The Post Brewing Company. If not visiting a local brewery, you might also catch him somewhere in the woods backpacking, rock climbing or snowboarding.