Chef de Cuisine Martin Woods of Sweet Basil took home top honors at the 15th Annual American Lamb Cook-Off at Taste of Vail for his Lamb Manti with Harissa, Whipped Curds and Whey and Mint. Second place went to Hooked/Revolution and third place went to Splendido. Mountain Standard was awarded the People’s Choice award. 

The lamb cook-off, sponsored by the American Lamb Board and held throughout the streets of Vail Village, showcased 23 of the area’s finest chefs preparing diverse dishes featuring Superior Farms Colorado leg of lamb. The lamb bites were complimented by samples from participating wineries.

Lamb is a common protein used in handheld Turkish dumplings, said Chef Woods. “We marinated the lamb in a mixture of olive oil, lemon zest, dried harissa, cilantro, mint, parsley, salt and pepper overnight before grinding. We stuffed the ground lamb in the dumplings which were roasted until golden brown and then steamed in chicken stock.”

“Even after 15 years, the amazing diversity and creativity of the leg of lamb dishes by Vail chefs at the Lamb Cook-Off is always so exciting,” says Megan Wortman, executive director of the Denver-based American Lamb Board. “From merguez stuffed peppers to braised lamb empanada, many of this year’s dishes highlighted unique flavors and trends and showcased the remarkable innovation by Vail Chefs.”

Additional restaurants that participated in the 15th Annual American Lamb Cook-Off include:

  • Bistro 14
  • Bol
  • Beano’s Cabin
  • Elway’s
  • Fitz Bar
  • Frost on the Creek
  • Game Creek Restaurant
  • Gessner
  • Grill on the Gore
  • La Tour
  • Leonora
  • Mid Vail
  • Remedy
  • Sauce on the Creek
  • The 10th
  • Toscanini
  • Two Elk
  • White Bison
  • Wildwood Smokehouse
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