Nicky USA’s Wild About Game competition is always a sweet little event: four Seattle chefs go up against four hometown chefs on Mount Hood, fueled by quail, rabbit, pheasant, elk, squab, wild boar, and more. But this year, chefs are really putting their knives on the line: Ruth Reichl, former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and legendary food critic, will be calling the shots. She’s joined by Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks (fresh off her James Beard win), and Food & Wine magazine editor Justin Chapple. So … no pressure, chefs.
Not only do ticket holders get to see what Spanish modernist Jose Chesa does with something like elk, they also get access to the Artisan Marketplace, a sprawling bazaar of spirits, coffee, cured meats, sweets, and ice cream.
The 17th annual competition falls on October 8 this year, held at Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon—a departure from the event's usual digs at Timberline Lodge. Tickets ($69) go on sale July 8 at nickyusa.com.
Here’s the roster for 2017:
Jose Chesa, Chesa
Matt Sigler, Renata
Sarah Schafer, Irving St. Kitchen
Phil Oswalt, MAC
Paul Osher, Porkchop & Co.
Jason Stratton, Mbar
Andrew Gregory & Ricardo Valdes, The London Plane
Chris Lobkovich, Quinn’s Pub