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The Original 28 Chef Competitors were pared down to one: Sarah Schafer from Irving Street Kitchen, Portland, OR beat Edward Sura from Perennial Virant, Chicago, IL

Gold River, B.C. (May 4, 2014) —After eight grueling first round competitions pitting 28 chefs followed by two Semi Final battles, the Final competition at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY was won by Chef Sarah Schafer from Irving Street Kitchen in Portland, OR. Chef Sarah beat the Eastern Semi Finalist Chef Edward Sura from Chicago’s Perennial Virant in a closely waged final cook off on April 30, 2014 at Sullivan University in Louisville.

While Chef Edward presented an almost perfect execution of seared Skuna Bay Salmon crusted with smoked and ground Bluegrass Soy mash and home pickled baby corn relish, Chef Sarah’s dish, a 90 minute cured Skuna Bay Salmon with salmon belly potato latkes and Skuna Bay caviar delivered the win to this great western chef.

“Both chefs performed with excellence under great pressure,” said one judge, Disneyland Signature Chef Andrew Sutton who was a previous finalist in 2013, “but Chef Sarah’s use of the salmon in many different ways and the difficulty of curing in under 90 minutes was the difference maker.”

Added judge Tyler Wiard, Culinary Director of Elway’s in Colorado: “Both chefs were great but Sarah knocked it out of the park!”

A photo and bio of each chef can be found at Skuna Bay Kentucky Derby Challenge - Chef bios and photos and below.

“As I have said all along, this was an incredibly strong and talented field,” said Dave Mergle of Skuna Bay Salmon. “Both chefs deserved to be there and it could have gone either way – it was a close call for the judges. For us we hope all the chefs who participated had a great experience as we know those who got to taste the dishes certainly did! The Second Annual Skuna Bay Kentucky Derby Chef Challenge was an unqualified success.”

Judging at the Final competition was Chef Tyler Wiard, Culinary Director of Elway’s in Colorado and Chef Andrew Sutton, Disney Signature Chef from the Napa Rose at the Grand California Resort and Spa in Anahaim, CA. The third judge was Chef Allen Akmon, head of Sullivan University’s Culinary College in Louisville, KY.

Following the Final Competition, on May 1, 2014, at the Taste of Derby, both Chef Tyler and Chef Andrew also applied their talents at the Skuna Bay station with their own unique presentations of Skuna Bay Salmon. This great event featured award-winning chefs from around the country sharing their creations with almost 2,000 ticketed guests, all in the aim of raising money for food charities around America.

The Skuna Bay Salmon Chef Challenge was developed to involve chefs from around America and connect them to the Kentucky Derby partnership where Skuna Bay was selected as Salmon of Choice. Chefs were invited to enter their best Skuna Bay Salmon dish at and from there 28 were selected to compete. Eight different first round competitions were held in Seattle, Orange County, Napa Valley, Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia, with each chef having 90 minutes to fillet their salmon, prepare their dish and present it to the judges. The winning chef at each event moved on to the semi-finals in Louisville on April 14 at Sullivan University Culinary Arts School and April 15 at Roy’s Pasadena in Los Angeles. The winner at each of those two competitions advanced to the Kentucky Derby final competition April 30 at Sullivan Culinary Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner, Sarah Schafer was named that night at a special event at Churchill Downs immediately following the Chairman’s Draw Party and will be recognized nationally in Saveur Magazine.

Skuna Bay Salmon was selected by the Kentucky Derby as the Salmon of Choice at this year’s 140th race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. To date, Skuna Bay Salmon is used by well-known chefs from across America including Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja and Euclid Hall in Denver, Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat in Chicago, Jonathan Sawyer of Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, Dan Kluger of ABC Cucina in New York, Tyler Wiard of Elways in Denver, Ed Brown of Ed’s Chowderhouse in New York and Randy Waidner, Executive Chef for Gibsons in Chicago. For more information, please visit Follow Skuna Bay on Twitter at @SkunaBay.