Fardowners chef Mark Cosgrove, assisted by Margot Diaz of The Mudhouse, won the Crozet Culinary Competition trophy for the third straight year September 17 at The Lodge at Old Trail, triumphing over chefs Tiz Butterfield from Sal’s Restaurant in Crozet, Harrison Keevil from Charlottesville’s Brookeville Restaurant and Mary Beth Harris of AVA Restaurant in Staunton.
Cosgrove, surrounded by his beaming sons as he held the trophy aloft, said he was retiring from the competition for next year and asked to be a judge for that contest. He dedicated the victory to the memory of Matthew Shannon, a Fardowners kitchen worker who was killed accidently on the railroad tracks a couple of weeks earlier.
This year’s mystery ingredients turned out to be dry-aged strip loin from Sherwood Farm in Charlottesville, quail eggs from Down Branch Farm in Charlottesville, hickory syrup from Falling Bark Farm in Berryville and Asian pears from Saunders Brothers Orchard in Nelson County. Chefs had one hour to cook an entrée and a dessert. Each chef made four servings for judges to taste and another was made to be raffled to spectators to eat.
The judges were former White House chef Jack Haney, Travis Koshko of the Charlottesville Newsplex and Joe Thomas of WCHV radio. The fourth judge’s seat was raffled off and Frank Cerrone of Crozet, who won that seat raffle last year, won it again this year! Lodge chef Josh Rutledge was the host. Judges said the scoring was “incredibly tight.”
This year’s winner was also awarded $1,000 of free ads by the Charlottesville Radio Group. About 20 paintings by local artists were auctioned during the competition and ticket sales also went to benefit the Western Albemarle Rescue Squad, which is currently raising money in order to respond to water emergencies with better equipment and training.