Palmisano named Top Chef of the Champlain Valley

first_imgSam Palmisano of Pulcinella’s in South Burlington took home the title of the Top Chef of the Champlain Valley for the second year in a row. Palmisano competed against Chef Robert Barral of Café Provence and JJ Vezina of the Windjammer Restaurant and Upper Deck Pub in an Iron Chef competition using all fresh Vermont produce, cheese and proteins donated by area farmers. The secret ingredient was announced to the chefs and the audience at the start of the competition and each chef had 50 minutes to create an appetizer and entrée highlighting this year’s secret ingredient, honey. Chef Palmisano’s winning dish was a honeyed lamb tartare on mesclun greens in a ring of lightly roasted green pepper and for his entrée offered up a sweet and savory crusted lamb on wilted greens and gnocchi with honey sauce. For Palmisano the competition was fun but not his motivation for participating. The Top Chef of the Champlain Valley, an Iron Chef Experience benefits the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging’s Meals on Wheels and Case Management Programs and for Palmisano it is not about the competition or winning it is “all about the money, everything else is just a bonus. So excited CVAA was able to raise 25 grand.” Nearly $25,000 was raised by the Top Chef of the Champlain Valley, enough to provide over 5,000 meals to homebound seniors.Each chef presented his dishes to the panel of judges: Jozef Harrewyn, Executive Chef and Owner of Chef’s Corner in Williston, Melissa Pasanen, co-author of New York Times notable cookbook, “Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont”, Suzanne Podhaizer, food critic for Seven Days, and Annie Harlow, a local farm based food consultant. The crowd watched as the judges meticulously tasted and took notes regarding the flavor, presentation, execution and use of the secret ingredient. In the end their decision was unanimous, as Harrewyn remarked “Sam Palmisano is our Iron Chef!”For Palmisano the most emotional part of the evening was “seeing so many of our regulars come to support us because they believe in us and believe in what we do.” Having recently lost his last grandparent, Palmisano knows his “grandmother was one of the blessed ones and many people have not been as lucky as her, CVAA does good work to help the elderly.”The Top Chef of the Champlain Valley benefits the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging. CVAA helps seniors in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties age with independence and dignity. CVAA has helped over 50,000 seniors remain in their own homes and had delivered over 7 million Meals on Wheels in the Champlain Valley. For information about services available for seniors 60 and older call the Senior Helpline at 1.800.642.5119 or go to is external).###last_img read more