Orioles Cook-Off: Oriole slugger Scott cooks up a winner

  • Luke Scott prepares surf and turf at the Baltimore Orioles Cookoff held at ESPN Zone.
Luke Scott prepares surf and turf at the Baltimore Orioles Cookoff… (Billie Weiss, Baltimore…)
May 26, 2010|By Rob Kasper, The Baltimore Sun

Slugger Luke Scott went deep into his culinary repertoire Wednesday and won the second annual Orioles Cook-Off at the ESPN Zone in downtown Baltimore.

Scott's surf and turf dish, a mixture of grilled steak and sautéed salmon topped with scallops, edged out Kevin Millwood's chicken enchiladas and Brad Bergesen's grilled salmon in a good-natured cooking competition benefitting the Maryland Food Bank.

Scott, the Orioles slugger, smiled and raised his arms to form a "V" when Jim Hunter, Oriole broadcaster and master of ceremonies for the event, announced that a panel of judges had picked Scott's dish as the best.

Millwood, a veteran pitcher, greeted the verdict by saying, "Second place stinks."

Following Millwood's lead, Bergesen, a young right-hander, replied that his third-place finish "stinks even more than finishing second."

Scott, who was nursing a sore left shoulder and was not certain he would play in Wednesday night's game against the Oakland Athletics, feverishly worked a pepper grinder, sliced scallops, sautéed salmon fillets, and grilled a steak.

"I thought this dish up on a whim," he said. He said that while he had cooked the components of the dish before, he had never put them all together.

Scott, 31, said he, along with his brother and sister, was taught to cook by their parents when the youngsters were growing up in Daytona Beach, Fla. Looking comfortable in a cooking apron, Scott discussed various ingredients in his dish. The salmon, he said, was wild caught, not farm- raised. He sautéed the fish in coconut oil, he said, because of its higher flash point than olive oil.

"I put a pepper rub on the scallops so you have a little contrast," Scott said. "You have sweetness from the coconut oil and little acidity from the splash of lemon."

Millwood, by contrast, had little to say about his dish and seemed to enjoy dodging Hunter's questions about the chicken enchiladas. When Hunter asked Millwood what was in a pan that Millwood was holding, the pitcher glibly replied, "That would be cheese." When Hunter asked Millwood if he was worried about the high calorie content of the enchiladas, Millwood, 35, replied, "At this age, another pound won't hurt."

The enchilada recipe, Millwood said, came from his girlfriend, Meredith Arnold , who along with Bergesen's wife, Shea ,sat in the ESPN Zone audience watching the competition.

Bergesen, 24, the youngest of the three cooks, worked carefully. Reading from recipe notes, he measured the horseradish, brown sugar, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce and olive oil that composed a marinade that the salmon fillets soaked in. Then Bergesen and his salmon disappeared from the ESPN Zone stage and retreated to the restaurant's kitchen. There he cooked the salmon on a fiery grill.

Bergesen, a native of Concord, Calif., said the recipe, called simple salmon, came from his stepmother, Diana Salvestrin, who resides in California.

An audience of about 100 fans who donated canned goods or money to Maryland Food Bank filled the restaurant. After the contest, the players signed autographs and mingled with the fans.

In keeping with tradition, the ESPN Zone said it would place a verison of the cook-off's winning dish on the restaurant's menu. Last year's winner, a chicken enchilada dish created by then Oriole catcher Gregg Zaun, became a favorite at the restaurant, an ESPN official said.

rob.kasper@baltsun.com

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