November 11, 2008
For immediate release
GULFPORT - Island View Casino Resort's team of skilled chefs won eight medals at the recent Culinary Classic, an annual competition sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Held on Oct. 27 at the Diamond Head Country Club in Hancock County, the event marked the 13th year of cook-off-style challenges and the second year of competition for the already award-winning Island View team.
Among the team's honors is the Chef of the Year Award, received by Jackie Espinoza, Island View executive sous chef. Espinoza, who also serves as president of the ACF Gulf Coast Chapter, joined the Gulfport resort prior to its opening in September 2006. She has been involved in the culinary field for more than 20 years and is a graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College.
In the cook-off, C&G Grille Assistant Room Chef Matt Kalinikos won a silver medal in the soup division for his entry of cream of asparagus with roasted garlic and crab, topped with lemon-crème friache. Also in the soup category, The Buffet Assistant Room Chef Eric Spencer won a bronze medal, with a crawfish and tasso wild mushroom bisque.
In the salad division, Kalinikos won a gold with a grilled-squash napoleon with truffle-chardonnay vinaigrette, and C&G Grille Production Cook Jeff Gilbert won a bronze with a beet salad.
Kalinikos won a third award in the seafood division, securing a silver for adobe-rubbed halibut with charred-tomato sauce.
In the poultry category, The Buffet Production Cook Deborah Thomas won a silver medal for her herb-roasted quail with cranberry-apple-pecan stuffing and Food Director Scott Hixson won a bronze for his poulet rouge roulade.
In the meat and wild game division, C&G Grille Sous Chef Shawn Harrelson secured a silver with his stuffed lamb chop topped with apple-mint sauce and a vegetable confit.
As a special recognition, Island View Executive Chef David Crabtree, who served as the organization's 2008 chairman, was presented with a plaque designated him as an honorary board member. Crabtree ensured that the chapter held five successful culinary competitions this year.
The 2008 Culinary Classic benefited the chapter and local culinary educational programs, with funds to be used in support of culinary-based scholarships. The American Culinary Federation is a nonprofit organization with more than 300 chapters nationwide. The Gulf Coast Chapter was formed in 1987 by a group of chefs that saw a need for advancement of the culinary industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
About Island View Casino Resort - Island View Casino Resort opened on Sept. 18, 2006 as the only casino in Gulfport , Miss. The land-based casino, located on 40 acres of waterfront property, currently offers an 80,000-plus-square-foot casino with approximately 2,000 slots and 47 table games. The 520,000-square-foot resort also features a 562-room hotel, an Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House, a 400-seat seat buffet, a 24-hour restaurant called C&G Grille and the View Bar - an entertainment lounge. Island View Casino Resort is privately held by Rick Carter and Terry Green, two Gulfport natives and longtime casino executives committed to the post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. www.IslandViewCasino.com
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