FAIRMONT - Two Fairmont restaurants took top honors during the 15th annual Martin County Fair Pork Cook-Off on Wednesday evening.
Five local and regional restaurants participated in the competition this year in two categories: connoisseur judges and the people's choice.
Interlaken Golf Course of Fairmont, serving a pork tenderloin with a red pepper coulis, received the top honor from the professional judges, while Green Mill of Fairmont was the people's choice with its Hawaiian pork tacos.
YUM — Lori and John Frank of the Sirloin House of Fairmont prepare a tray of “Bacon Toffee Pretzel Crunch” brownies to serve during the Pork Cook-Off on Wednesday evening at the Martin County Fair. The dessert pork treat took third place in the connoisseur judges choice category.
"I'm an old school chef," says Tim Born, who became chef at Interlaken Golf Course late last year. "I don't have recipes, I just create. This is a classical dish and it's just my take on it."
The two Fairmont winners switched places for second place, with Green Mill taking second with the professional judges and Interlaken finishing second in the people's choice category.
Third place for the professional judges went to the Sirloin House of Fairmont with the most unique pork dish, a "Bacon Toffee Pretzel Crunch" brownie. The people's choice third place went to Baileys Restaurant and Bar of Ormsby, with a pulled pork slider sandwich with Jack Daniel's sauce.
The remaining restaurant that participated, George's Fine Dining of New Ulm, served a BBQ pork tenderloin.
Connoisseur judges this year were Colleen Carey of the Minnesota Pork Board, from Mapleton; Mark Beland, executive chef of Mayo Health Systems, supervising all Mayo network food outlets; and Terry Wolters of the Pipestone Veterinary Clinic.
While the restaurant count was the lowest since the Pork Cook-Off began, the event continues to sell out all 400 tickets available.
The Pork Cook-Off provides two $4,200 scholarships to local students each year. The 2012 scholarship winners are Kevin Hanson and Amanda Philipp, both of Fairmont High School.
The annual Pork Cook-Off is sponsored by the Martin County Pork Producers and the Agri-Business Community Chamber of Commerce.
Scholarship sponsors include: AgStar, Bank Midwest, Cargill, Devenish Nutrition, Dutch Creek Farms, Fairmont Vet Clinic, Preferred Capital Management, Kahler Automation, Martin County Corn and Soybean growers, Martin County Pork Producers, Profinium Bank, Valero and WFS.