By Executive Chef John Zehnder, CEC, AAC, HGT
The holidays are finally over! Long winter days begin to take their toll as cabin fever starts to set in. I hear it all the time “there’s nothing to do”. Mark your calendar -it’s time to think about Zehnder’s Snowfest coming up in a few weeks – January 25-30. For 25 years, Zehnder’s Snowfest has played host to crowds of shivering spectators who brave the cold to be amazed by ice and snow sculptures created by award winning ice and snow carvers from all across the U.S. and the world.
New for 2017 is the Collegiate Alumni Ice Challenge. We’ve invited ten past winners of our collegiate ice championships to compete in a two day/two event challenge. On Friday, January 27 each will carve a two block ice sculpture and on Saturday, January 28 they’ll join as two carver teams to create five block masterpieces of frozen art.
This competition is in addition to the U.S. National Collegiate Championships scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Five ice carving events over the weekend.
I haven’t done the math, but I know we’ll be using several tons of ice!
The second exciting Snowfest event is our finale on Monday, January 30 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Zehnder’s Main and Town Hall Dining Rooms– The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Professional Chef Hot Food Competition and Tasting. The ACF is the professional organization of chefs, cooks, bakers and pastry chefs. Our local chapter plays host to raise money for the Saginaw East Side Soup Kitchen in support of their “After School Meal Program” that distributes over 400 takeout dinner meals each day through inner city Saginaw churches. Tickets are $30 and available through Zehnder’s Guest Services Office. Call 989 652-0450 for more information.
If you watch the Food Channel or any of the other TV chef competitions you have an idea of what goes on. Professional chefs from the Saginaw/Bay City/Flint area – normally about two dozen chefs– compete for cash and trophies. I jokingly tell people – don’t go out to a local restaurant or country club of the day of our competition – don’t know who’s cooking because all the best chefs are here at Zehnder’s competing. Each chef will prepare an original dish based on the evening’s theme – for 2017 it’s OKTOBERFEST. Competing chefs are then judged by a panel of their peers – ACF Certified Chefs. Once judged, you get to taste each dish. See if you agree with the professional judges! You’ll get a chance to express your opinion, too. There is a “Peoples’ Choice Award”.
Our Grand Buffet Tables with authentic German food are also part of the evening’s activities. Food items on these three buffets will be prepared and served by high school culinary arts students from the Saginaw Career Center and the Tuscola Technical Center in Caro. A wonderful opportunity for students to work with local chefs.
Linda Lee – nationally known polka artist – is the entertainment for our OKTOBERFEST. She’s worth the price of a ticket alone!
Finally, I’d like to thank Hofbrauhaus – official sponsor of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany – and Michigan Sugar for their generous support of our competition.
If you’re a TV “foodie” you’ll love this event.
Zehnder’s Snowfest celebrates 26 years of snow-filled fun for more than 150,000 festival attendees. A great winter event for the entire family, the festival presents world class snow sculpture championships, State of Michigan and high school snow sculpting competitions, and the US National Collegiate Ice Carving Competition. Families can also enjoy live music, kid’s activities, food and fireworks. You can view Zehnder’s official Snowfest page here.
STAY UPDATED ON THE OFFICIAL ZEHNDER’S SNOWFEST FACEBOOK FAN PAGE: