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To kick off the World Food Championships, The Bison Council hosted a cocktail party at the top of The Palms Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Top competitors and world-class chefs enjoyed a night of tasty cocktails, delightful conversation, and delicious bison!
Then, it was off to Fremont street where Chef Travis Brust showed Las Vegas how to cook with bison. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Chef Brust held cooking demos on the Third Street Stage, and encouraged fans to Flip the Bird by substituting bison for turkey in their Thanksgiving dishes. Each day he cooked something different. On Thursday he cooked Bison Ribeye with a Horseradish Froth. On Friday, Chef Brust made a Baked Bison Sausage & Artichoke Dip with Local Brew Caramelized Onions. Saturday, he grilled a Bison Flank Steak with Olive Oil and Herb Essence.
The Bison Council hit the streets early on Saturday setting up for the Chili Championships. The top 10 finalists were thrown a curveball when they found out that their recipes had to include some type of bison. The Bison Council (behind the scenes in the special judges room) was there to see the final dishes close up - they looked and smelled amazing! A special congratulations goes out to the winner, Ray Bogart, for his Ray’s Red Chili using bison tenderloin.
The next bison-tastic event, the Recipe Challenge, required our top ten finalists to cook their winning pasta dishes with bison. Each competitor had their choice of bison cuts: ground, tri tip, sirloin, you name it! Our winner, Beth Peterson, cooked Asian Hot Pot of Bison Tenderloin with Homemade Udon Noodles. Yum!
Sunday was action-packed! The Bison Council hosted a sampling tent featuring samples of bison tri-tip roast, caramelized onions, and truffle oil served on a crostini. We also awarded T-shirts to all of those who pledged to Flip the Bird and try bison this Thanksgiving.
It wasn’t long before a Bison Thanksgiving Challenge took over the Third Street Stage. Three competing chefs—Rick Giffen, Emily Ellyn, and Giorgio Rapicavoli—were challenged to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner in just one hour using bison in every course.
Chef Giffen cooked a bison tartare appetizer with sweet potato chips, bison rib eye with mushroom stuffing, and bison bacon creme brulee.
Emily combined the Pilgrim’s original feast, and a retro-modern American dinner, by whipping up a gourmet Bison TV Dinner. Her bison bacon cornbread pudding was beyond amazing!
Giorgio Rapicavoli made a bison sausage pumpkin bisque, bison rib eye with dried cranberries, and apple pie with a bison bacon streusel crumble—and walked away with the Bison Thanksgiving Challenge crown!
Though it’s known as a town that’s seen it all, Las Vegas opened its heart (and mouth!) to bison!
[photo credit: Brigid Slattery]