By Laura Medina
Celebrity Judge & Star, Chef Ben Ford, https://www.tastemade.com/@the_arriviste/g3IdreAQRcGadx9J87CTIw
If you're stuck on the same ole tomato-based BBQ sauce (there's nothing wrong with that) and you crave something a little more sweeter, a little more tangier, or you need something to add more "zing" to your BBQ sauce/marinade, you can look to Chef Ben Ford (yes, he's Harrison Ford's son a.k.a. "Han Solo's son") and the sixth annual Dole's California Cook-Off, helped out by Weber Grills.
As long there are BBQ grills, especially top-of-the line Weber Grills, it is gourmet but accessible grilling. With all this marinating in fruit juices or caramel/fruit sauce and glazes made with Dole's fruit products, this reminisces this scribe of an earlier article, Chef Hugo Uys' paleo diet, South African BBQ, "For Father's Day, South African BBQ & Cuisine, the Original "Paleo" Diet with Sweet South African Wine, thanks Chef Hugo Uys." http://luxurist.blogspot.com/2014/06/for-fathers-day-south-african-bbq.html.
The mission of this national cook-off is to see how creatively a person can use Dole products to their fullest and prove that exotic dishes doesn't have to be expensive nor out of reach.
Obviously with the Dole Pineapple association, Chef Ford whipped up an Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi, Hawaiian ahi salmon poke salad with tomatoes then he whipped up another dish.
Honestly, him whipping, chopping, dicing, and grilling was entertainment in-between the competition, the real contest, between the three finalists.
The three finalists were picked from the East Coast, the Mid-West, and the West Coast.
Each finalist can bring a "sous chef" to help them in the one-hour cook-off. Two of the finalists were women in their senior citizen years. One brought her granddaughter as the sous chef. These grandma/granddaughter duo did the most elaborated plating, the Grilled Shrimp and Tropical Fruit Crostini with Prosciutto Shavings...drizzled with Pineapple-Caramel Sauce.
To tell you the truth, the dishes these contestants had brought as their "A" Games are pretty cultivated, considering these are "home-cooks." Singapore Stacked Scallops, the ingredients and the plating were restaurant quality.
The Winner, https://www.tastemade.com/@the_arriviste/g3IdreAQRcGadx9J87CTIw
The $25,000 winner wasn't the fanciest nor the most cosmopolitan but it was the simplest and their Weber Grill fired up the quickest, Breezy Indian-Spiced Chicken with Mango-Peanut Sauce, dusted with Dates and Grilled Pineapples. Basically, it was the classic grilled pineapple, chicken, and mango chunks on a skewer shish-kabob, BBQed "meat and fruit on a stick."
Chef Ben Ford and the president of Dole were startled by the level of sophistication and ingenious use of Dole ingredients incorporated in the dishes.
Which is the point, you don't have to shop at remote food boutiques and markets then pay top dollars for "exotic" fruits for fancy dishes, when all you have to do is hit your local supermarket and pick any ole Dole fruit or/and juice for your elegant grilling needs.