Molten chocolate pouches won the prize for best puff pastry idea in Pennant Foods' Puff Pastry Recipe Contest. The Northlake, Ill.-based company awarded $4,000 in prizes to chefs and culinary students for their puff pastry creations. First place and the $2,000 grand prize for the chocolate pouch went to Laura Curtis, a culinary student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
The two runners-up were Martin Wolf, executive chef at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, S.C. for his truffled mashed potato cannoli and Danny Angelopolus, pastry chef at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. for his deep fried strawberry cheesecake. Both chefs received a $1,000 prize for their innovative recipe. “We received an overwhelming response to the recipe contest,” said Judy Karner, vice president of marketing for Pennant Foods. “Each recipe we received was an excellent demonstration of what possibilities exist to create memorable food with puff pastry.”
Entries were judged by a panel of renowned Chicago chefs: Ina Pickney of Ina's; Jay Lovell of Lovell's of Lake Forest; Dino Lubbat of Dinotto Ristorante; Heather Terhune of The Atwood Café and South Water Kitchen; and Catherine Policella, Pennant Foods' executive chef. Judges then scored the entries against four criteria, including originality, flavor and appeal, creative use of puff pastry and simplicity.