Carlo Cavallo, chef/owner of Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grille in Sonoma, was the ultimate winner of the Sonoma Steel Chef Competition at Saturday's Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch.
"I'm the Susan Lucci of Steel Chef," the chef joked during Sunday's auction luncheon, referring to the actress on "All My Children" who was nominated for a Daytime Emmy multiple times. Cavallo has competed several times in the past, but this was his first win.
For the Steel Chef crown, the finalists were given a mystery basket of lamb, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, carrots and potatoes, figs and thyme. Cavallo cleverly turned the potatoes into a Potato Blue Cheese Risotto, then grilled the lamb with thyme and finished it with a merlot-fig reduction sauce.
The other contestants competing this year included Crista Luedtke of Boon Eat + Drink in Guerneville, Steven Snook of Kenwood Inn & Spa and Steve Rose of The Vineyards Inn Spanish Bar & Grill in Kenwood.