The Chefs of Steel competition is quickly approaching, which means all the chefs involved are firing up their ovens, stoves and grills to face off against each other this Saturday at Bulldog Park in Crown Point. I took a closer look at each of the participants and their unique styles so I was ready to see what they have to offer while competing for the title.

Bartlett's Fish Camp Chef Nicole BissonnetteNicole Bissonnette

Bartlett’s Fish Camp, Michigan City

With a background in French cooking, Chef Bissonnette of Bartlett's Fish Camp is bringing a fresh perspective to the region with her back-to-basics approach and focus on local seafood. 

Her focus on the progression of cooking and taking the time to make sure each step of the preparation process is done thoughtfully and with the passion she derives from young chefs who are eager to learn from her. Her background in French cooking gives Chef Bissonnette an expertise in seafood, which is a staple in costal French cuisine. Any chef whose passion is rooted in taking quality steps to enhance the flavors they’re using will be worth the watch.

One13North Chef James CannonJames Cannon

One13North, Crown Point 

Taking his farm-to-fork mentality to the plate, Chef Cannon’s focus is accentuating the small flavors and building around the main feature of each dish. Building the dish from the earth up, Chef Cannon takes what’s in front of him and picks out the flavors he wants to accentuate on each plate and delicately layers around the acidity or sweetness of the basic ingredients. Respecting the integrity of each ingredient, each plate has been meticulously thought out and each element compliments another on the plate. Every flavor you taste has been specifically designed to be showcased perfectly. 

Lincoln Flats Chef Aaron KujawaAaron Kujawa

Lincoln Flats, Valparaiso

Another chef looking to push the boundaries with rare cuts of meat and flavor pairings is Chef Kujawa at Lincoln Flats. Working his way up from humble beginnings as a young prep cook now to head chef to the inception of his restaurant, Chef Kujawa has adds his unparalleled flare to his dishes. He emphasizes that his philosophy is to make things different, challenge yourself and not keep yourself in one lane. 

Captain's House Chef Angela McCrovitzAngela McCrovitz

Captain’s House, Gary

Chef McCrovitz’s passion for building a story around her dishes is evident in the final product. Focusing on the story and the uniqueness of each individual ingredient, Chef McCrovitz builds her dishes from the ground up. Marking the similarities between her style and the style of the world-famous chef, Julia Child, she starts with a base of one flavor profile and layers other flavors to build the story around her dish. She is passionate about her fresh, humble, basic ingredients that she uses to craft the dining experience and extraordinary and playful final plate.

Bistro on the Greens Chef John MoultrieJohn Moultrie

Bistro on the Greens, LaPorte

Chef Moultrie’s rich history with food started with his great grandmother who opened a restaurant in Florida in 1910. He was inspired by her fresh menu, which changed daily depending on what was caught that morning. Watching his uncle and grandmother cooking inspired his individual style. His take on the Louisiana Cajun culture piqued my interest, especially with the layering of spices that create the bold iconic Cajun flavors. Intelligently layering flavors is not a small task and with the passion and history that drives John Moultrie’s cooking, I’m dying to see what other styles he can take on.

Radius Chef Chris PavlouChris Pavlou

Radius, Valparaiso

Chef Pavlou is all about the wow factor. He has been in the food business all his life and stresses his passion in creating different food pairings that make his guests say “Wow” with each dish. His joy in cooking comes from the enjoyment of his guests and he strives to give them a new food experience every time they come to the restaurant. His enthusiasm for taking something simple and manipulating it into something totally new and distinct drives his menu, which he says comes to him in his sleep. Experimenting with flavors and always pushing the boundaries to create new and incomparable dishes is at the heart of Chef Pavlou’s creations.

Byway Brewery Chef Brian RanceBrian Rance

Byway Brewery, Hammond

With a focus on creating new flavors, Chef Rance of Byway Brewery has unlimited options when he wants to pair his dishes with their signature brews. He acknowledges the freedom of creativity that he is allowed when deciding what flavors to pair together to create the perfect complimentary dish and drink. Chef Rance brings his ingredients and beers together not to feature each one individually but to create a brand new marriage of flavors that create something never before seen. Innovation and creativity run the kitchen at Byway, pushing the boundaries and creating new variations of old favorites. 

Want to catch these chefs in action as they put their skills to the test? Their talents will be on display for you to watch live this Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Bulldog Park, 183 S. West Street in Crown Point, from 4-9 p.m. You don’t want to miss this eclectic blend of local restaurant elites as they showdown to win the title of Northwest Indiana Chef of Steel 2019. 
Click here for more details.