2018 Chefs Challenge
Aug 18, 2018 12:00AM
● By Brian Saucedo
By James Houck
Photography by Stephen Buchanan
When our recent Best of Annapolis and Best of Eastern Shore reader voting concluded and the results tabulated and vetted, I was pleasantly surprised at the winning names for our two Best Chefs. Readers chose two new names—new to me at least—among the hundreds of capable, creative, and worthy chefs throughout the region. Chef Jonathan Seningen of Blackwall Hitch in Annapolis and Chef/Owner Henry Miller of Two If By Sea Restaurant in Tilghman Island have, obviously and already, won readers’ hearts with their modern and classic coastal-inspired menus.
Of course, being the culinary savants that they are, both chefs draw from a range of worldly influences, which weave their way into the dishes they create. Both chefs trained their way through the gastronomical mixing pot of New York City before landing in Maryland.
Chef Seningen attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and worked under the tutelage of acclaimed chefs Paul Liebrandt, Alex Lee, Terrance Brennan, and David Waltuck, with stints in Union Pacific, Aquavit, and Judson Grill.
Chef Miller graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in 1982. He then worked at Fountaine Bleu in Miami, Florida, to the Pegasus Restaurant and the Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey.
We called upon each chef to create a multi-course menu as a showcase of their talent, as well as a nod to their newly earned gravitas as award-winners. In a tradition that’s unique to the What’s Up? Media Best Of contests, we present the follow-up culinary presentation. Their recipes can be found online at whatsupmag.com. Bon appetit, or as we say in Maryland, “Enjoy hon!”
400 Sixth Street, Annapolis
Pan Seared Hawaiian Moon Fish: served mid-rare over warm farro, fresh herbs, grilled strawberries, squash, and crème fraiche foam.
Apple Beet Ravioli: red beet and granny smith apple ravioli with extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper, and whipped goat cheese garnished with toasted pistachio and a vanilla beet reduction.
Spring and Snow: “snow” is coconut paper over “spring,” sprouted nuts, nama shoyu, curry, sprouted grains, pea shoots, and flowers.
Black and White: white asparagus flan, quail egg, and clam toasted pine nuts in a squid ink sauce.
Milk Chocolate Ganache: over a hazelnut gateaux and crushed crepes with a dark chocolate anglaise, served with vanilla ice cream.
Two If By Sea Restaurant
5776 Tilghman Island Road, Tilghman Island
Pannacotta with Raspberry Coulis: cream, milk, sugar coalesce with vanilla for a pannacotta, while raspberries, lime juice, and sugar combine into a coulis; together served with almond cookies.
Cuban Sandwich: roasted pork, ham, salami, and swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard meld together between slices of buttered Cuban bread.
Tuscan Rib Eye with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes: 1 1/4-inch thick rib eye steaks seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and garlic are grilled, topped with a fried egg, and served with marinated cherry tomatoes, arugula, and herb oil drizzle.
Crabbie Eggs Benedict: top to bottom layers of English muffin, crabmeat, cheese, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce.
Rainbow Smith Island Cake: alternating layers of colorful vanilla cake and vanilla butter frosting. “Don’t tell anyone it’s a rainbow cake. Watch their reactions when you cut it!”