Kansas City Chefs Participate in 2024 Taste of Elegance Culinary Competition

Kansas City, Mo.,—Chef Philip Thompson with Q39 in Kansas City, Missouri, took top honors at the annual Kansas City Taste of Elegance culinary competition held March 18 at Harrah’s North Kansas City. His entrée, Smoked & Grilled Pork Belly, Carrot Puree, BBQ Spiced Rubbed Pork Rinds, Salsa Verde, received the $1,000 top award.


The Kansas City Taste of Elegance was hosted by the Missouri Pork Association, Kansas Pork Association, and Harvesters-Community Food Network. Harrah’s North Kansas City and Missouri Wine and Grape Board provided additional support. Thanks to St. James Winery for providing wine samples during the banquet.


Over 300 people sampled the dishes during a reception to honor food bank donors. Guests voted Chef Brian Hove with Kozak’s Laketown Grill in Smithville, Missouri, the People’s Choice winner. His entrée, Smoked Pork Belly with Maple Bourbon Glaze and Pimento Cheese Grits, earned him a set of Mercer Knives.


The second-place award and $500 went to Chef Jacob Picking with Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City for his Bangers & Mash: Cheddar Jalapeno Sausage, Yukon Gold Smashed Potatoes, Pork Demi-Glace, Cucumber Onion Salad. Third place and $250 went to Chef Matt McGee from the Crowne Plaza Downtown Kansas City in Kansas City for his Blood Orange Cured Pork Coppa, Celeriac Puree, Pickled Golden Beet, Honey Butter Sphere, Citrus Pearls, Passionfruit Foam, Micro Sprouts.


Seven chefs prepared dishes for judging on originality, taste, appearance, and menu applicability. This year’s judges included: Chef Mike Chrostowski with the Institute of Culinary Arts at Herndon Career Center; Chef Jacob Moeller with Rye – Plaza Downtown in Kansas City; and Don Nikodim, executive director of the Missouri Pork Association.


Additional chefs competing included Chef Alyson Martin, Kansas City Marriott Downtown in Kansas City; Chef Jim Tinkham, William Jewell College in Liberty; and Chef Shaun Martin, Harrah’s in North Kansas City.


“We are proud to sponsor the Taste of Elegance events,” said Don Nikodim, executive director of the Missouri Pork Association. “Working with chefs to create new menu items, then promoting those items, helps build demand for pork, while introducing consumers to the product’s great taste.”


The Missouri Pork Association represents the state’s pork producers in areas of promotion, research, education, and public policy. For more information about this or any other programs of the Missouri Pork Association, visit www.mopork.com, or call (573)445-8375.