Nicky USA’s Wild About Game competition is the Pacific Northwest culinary face-off: four Portland chefs go head-to-head with four Seattle chefs on Mount Hood in a meaty showdown, featuring wild game such as quail, elk, wild boar, and rabbit. Like last year, the chefs will perform for several notable judges: Jordana Rothman, restaurant editor for Food & Wine, Kathleen Squires, a New York Times bestselling author, and Adam Callaghan, the editor of Eater Seattle.
This Portland team is truly a force to be reckoned with, including Han Oak’s Peter Cho (our 2017 Restaurant of the Year) and Castagna’s Justin Woodward, a James Beard Award-nominated modernist powerhouse. Rounding out the team are two longstanding, celebrated Portland chefs, Trifecta Tavern's Chris DiMinno and Aviary's Sarah Pliner.
Ticket holders get access to the Artisan Marketplace, a sprawling bazaar of spirits, coffee, cured meats, sweets, and ice cream, as well as to the main events. This year, a new Maker’s Mark cocktail competition has been added. (Known fact: the best place to sip a cocktail is on Oregon’s tallest peak.)
The 18th annual competition falls on September 30, again at Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon. Tickets ($75) are already on sale. Pro tip: they sell out fast.
Here’s the roster for 2018:
Peter Cho, Han Oak
Chris DiMinno, Trifecta Tavern
Sarah Pliner, Aviary
Justin Woodward, Castagna
Alex Barkley, Manolin
David Nichols, Rider
Derek Ronspies, Le Petit Cochon
Aaron Willis, Ciudad Grill