Padma Lakshmi, Alex Bois and Michael Zachman. Padma Lakshmi, Alex Bois and Michael Zachman.

The newly-opened Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills hosted the third annual Taste of Waldorf Astoria culinary competition.

Selected by a star-studded panel of judges led by host Padma Lakshmi, the winning dish created by executive chef Michael Zachman from Waldorf Astoria Park City and James Beard Foundation (JBF), Rising Star Finalist chef Alex Bois, will be featured on menus at 26 Waldorf Astoria properties worldwide.

Padma Lakshmi, host and executive producer of Top Chef, emceed the event, which marked the end of the third annual Taste of Waldorf Astoria competition where JBF Rising Star Finalist chefs partnered with Waldorf Astoria Executive Chefs for weeklong collaborations in 2016.

This year’s panel included Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Adam Rapoport, editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit magazine, Erik Bruner-Yang, owner and chef of Maketto in D.C. who won last year’s Taste of Waldorf Astoria competition, and Taste of Waldorf Astoria chef and vice president, culinary Americas for Hilton, Marc Ehrler.

The dish pairing from Waldorf Astoria Park City joins last year’s winning dish, the Jing Roll, the 2015 winning dish Celery Root Risotto Alla Waldorf, and a line-up of iconic dishes that were first created at Waldorf Astoria, including Eggs Benedict, Red Velvet Cake, and The Waldorf Salad. The winning dish pairing featured beet-cured steelhead trout paired with Rye & Shine Prosecco cocktail and spicy togarashi prawn paired with ginger yuzu Asian pear mo(ck)jito.

This year's Taste of Waldorf Astoria posed a specific challenge – to transform happy hour into the "Fifth Hour: Bar + Bites," a contemporary update to the time-honoured ritual using innovative themes that mirror the style of each property. With the goal of expanding bar offerings beyond traditional drinks and appetizers, each chef duo created two small bites that pair with an original cocktail and mocktail.

“Waldorf Astoria has always influenced the culinary landscape and with pioneering programs like Taste of Waldorf Astoria, the brand continues to lead and inspire through innovation & strategic collaboration. I truly value the opportunity to judge this competition and bring exquisite food to discerning guests,” said Vongerichten.

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