Port of San Diego Names Top Green Chef

The Port of San Diego’s Green Business Network has announced its 2013 Top Green Chef – Sutti Sripolpa, executive chef at the Manchester Grand Hyatt — after a timed competition among some of the best chefs in San Diego, who used sustainable ingredients to prepare innovative dishes in a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient test kitchen.

The second annual Top Green Chef – the only sustainable food competition in San Diego – was held Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

The Port said that 75 people attended the event, many of them representing Green Business Network members and other businesses.

The competition among chefs from Green Business Network member restaurants showcases energy-efficient commercial cooking equipment and encourages waterfront businesses to network and share best practices for reducing utility costs.

Four chefs competed in two rounds in the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) Energy Innovation Center’s energy-efficient test kitchen. A panel of VIP judges from Port businesses and leadership selected the winning dish based on taste, presentation and creativity.

“I was very happy to see the enthusiasm of how this event was greeted by all, and that the Green Business Network is being supported in such a popular way,” said Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos.

The SDG&E Energy Innovation Center, at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard in San Diego, is used by food-service professionals to test and compare more than 40 pieces of energy-efficient natural gas and electric equipment from a variety of manufacturers. The equipment is up to 40 percent more efficient than standard commercial appliances; the stove exhaust hoods alone are equipped with demand control systems that save 20-50 percent in energy use.

The chefs were required to use a basket of seasonal, local ingredients unveiled moments before the competition. For appetizers, chefs had 20 minutes to work with locally caught sea urchin, California-grown avocado and persimmon, and sourdough dinner rolls from Bread & Cie in Hillcrest.

For entrees, they had 20 minutes to use locally line-caught mahi mahi, California-grown Brussels sprouts and Asian pears, and fresh red pepper-flavored pasta from Assenti’s in Little Italy.

Chef Sripolpa won based on cumulative scores from both rounds; he created an appetizer of cold sea urchin salad mixed with avocado and persimmon and tossed with a soy lime vinaigrette. His entrée had strong Italian flavors with pan-fried mahi mahi, light tomato, basil and olive oil pasta with grated Asian pear garnish, and a side of seasoned Brussels sprouts.

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