Chamber pitches fall classic

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce hopes to fill the tourist gap between summer and the holiday season with a cook-off among Ashland chefs.

The contest is the headline event of the first Food and Wine Classic of Southern Oregon, sponsored by the chamber on the weekend of Nov. 2, — and 4.

"This event is showcasing local produce, local chefs, and local tourism with restaurants and wineries," said Katharine Flanagan, membership development director with the chamber. She said they will target tourists from Seattle to San Francisco for the inaugural event.

Eight local chefs will compete by using local "key" ingredients that will be revealed in the week leading up to the contest. Four chefs will begin the competition Saturday morning at the Historic Ashland Armory, and the remaining four will compete in round two that afternoon.

Semifinalists will advance to Sunday morning's competition, and the top two will vie for the championship by using multiple local ingredients Sunday afternoon. The chamber is still searching for a celebrity judge to choose the ultimate winner.

David Taub, owner and executive chef at Chateaulin Restaurant Wine Shop, said his sous chef, Steve Cameron, would be competing in the event.

"I'll probably be at the restaurant while he is competing," Taub said. The chamber is encouraging restaurants to develop special menus during the competition. Taub is considering featuring Kobe beef from Klamath Falls.

Other events for the weekend include a kickoff luncheon at the Ashland Springs Hotel and special workshops, such as a wine and brew class showcasing local wineries and a holiday decor workshop featuring local retailers.

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