Taste the Elegance: Duke & Dagger Chef to Compete in Cooking Bout

Nealy Corcoran

On Jan. 31, Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells hosted the 2019 Taste of Elegance. Each year, eight chefs are selected from throughout the state to compete in the event. Chippewa Valley’s very own Chef Michael Choronzy of Menomonie’s the Duke & Dagger restaurant was one of eight chefs to be selected. The Taste of Elegance is a culinary competition that features a panel of judges who evaluate each contestant’s entrée to determine the top winners. According to the Wisconsin Pork Association – one of the many sponsors – the competition encourages chefs to develop creative pork recipes and is designed to inspire innovative ways to feature pork as a menu item. The purpose of the competition is to highlight the increasing popularity of pork, and help strengthen a chef’s preference for pork as a flavorful and versatile meat. Chef Michael Choronzy is currently an undergraduate student at UW-Stout in the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Program. He started in the restaurant industry working the front-of-house as an assistant manager, but eventually wanted to “see what the other side of the coin looked like,” he said, so he started working in kitchens. About two years ago, he joined the Duke & Dagger in Menomonie and for the past nine months has been the head chef at the British-inspired restaurant. “It was an incredible honor to be selected for the Taste of Elegance competition,” Choronzy said. “I had the opportunity to meet a chef from Milwaukee, who had tried for five years to get accepted into the competition, and never made it beyond submission. Considering this was the first year I submitted a recipe for consideration, I feel incredibly honored to be a part of the event.” For the competition, Choronzy submitted a recipe that he called the Isabella Bird, which was named after a 19th-century explorer, writer, photographer, and naturalist. In honor of her first mission to Korea, Choronzy’s entree featured Western-influenced stuffed pork inspired by and infused with Korean components. The top three winners were chefs from Waukesha, Middleton, and Baraboo. In addition to Choronzy, other finalists included chefs from Madison and River Falls. “The competition is an amazing opportunity to interact with other chefs,” Choronzy said. “In the culinary world we push ourselves to go further. The greatest takeaway from the experience was feeling honored, hopeful, and the desire to develop and strive as a chef.”

For more information, check them out at www.dukeanddagger.com

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