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Tenderloin with fries, root beer wins Indiana Taste of Excellence

Indiana Pork Producers Association Indiana Pork Taste of Elegance 23.jpg
Event attracts over 400 pork farmers, lawmakers, ag industry leaders and dignitaries to downtown Indianapolis.

Chef Dean Sample from The Burgess Restaurant Group in Indianapolis took home the top award at this year's Taste of Elegance held on January 24, 2023 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. The premier chef's competition, hosted by Indiana Pork, is a culinary event designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to serve pork.

Each year, the Taste of Elegance program brings talented chefs together to compete in the prestigious event created to encourage chefs to use pork more frequently in creative, non-traditional ways. The event attracts over 400 pork farmers, lawmakers, ag industry leaders and dignitaries to downtown Indianapolis for an evening of elegance and celebration.

Chef Sample's dish was a tribute to a summer trip he and his wife's family take to a favorite root beer spot each summer. He was able to feature root beer in his featured dish, Indiana Tenderloin with fries and root beer. The dish was a Tenderloin Wellington with Pickle Duxelles, Root Beer Glazed Pork Belly, Bacon Fat Fried Potatoes, Frisée Salad w/ Bacon Vinaigrette, Pork Rind Crumble and a Mustard Aioli. As the Taste of Elegance winner, Sample was presented with a check for $1,000 from Indiana Pork. 

"Chef Sample is a great competitor at Taste of Elegance," said Jeanette Merritt, director of Communications of Indiana Pork. "Chef Sample grew up on a corn and soybean farm and understands the importance of Indiana agriculture. He is a great advocate for Indiana pork and features it in many different ways on his menus." 

The 2023 Indiana Taste of Elegance featured some of the state’s top chefs, including:

  • Chef Michael Gomez — Gomez BBQ, Indianapolis
  • Chef Kathy Jones — Big Woods Restaurant Group, Nashville
  • Chef Cole Padgett - Taxman, Fortville
  • Chef Erin Oeschle — Chef "E" Supper Club, Indianapolis
  • Chef Dean Sample — Burgess Restaurant Group, Indianapolis
  • Chef Scott Cramer — Crystal Signature Events, Indianapolis
  • Chef Steven Hackney - Indianapolis
  • Chef Ross Katz - RHB Resources, Indianapolis
  • Chef Tracey Couillard - Ash & Elm Cider, Indianapolis

Other winning chefs from the night include:

  • Superior Chef Award (2nd place): Steven Hackney — Indianapolis
  • Premium Chef Award (3rd place): Erin Oeschle — Chef "E" Suppler Club, Indianapolis
  • Wine Pairing Award: Steven Hackney — Indianapolis
  • People's Choice Award — Favorite Entrée: Dean Sample, Burgess Restaurant Group, Indianapolis
  • People's Choice Award — Favorite Display: Cole Padgett - Taxman, Fortville
  • People's Choice Award — Favorite Wine: Ash & Elm Cider, Indianapolis
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