The elegant new Hermosa Ballroom was alive with activity on March 30 as guests eagerly awaited the start of the first “Robson Ranch Throwdown.” The evening began with music provided by Used Kars. Four of our bartenders went to work using their mixology expertise to concoct one-of-a-kind drinks. Guests were invited to taste each creation and vote for their favorite entry. Margaret O’Connor, bar manager, won with her Vodka Summer Sun. Runners up were Brad Leaver, banquet bartender, with a Rum-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake; Gina Ventura, restaurant bartender, with her Tequila-Dulce Fuego; and Amber Benefield, banquet bartender, with a Bourbon-Brown Sugar Sunrise.
Next up were the chef entries. Once again guests were asked to taste and vote on their favorite dish. Oh, the agony of selecting just one winner! Each dish was a different main course entrée, and each was superb in its own right. Dustin Patrick, restaurant sous chef, took top honors with his Smoked Duck Confit. His competition was Ben Chastain, banquet sous chef, for his Sweet Onion Sirloin; Gabriel Valadez, lead cook, for Trout en Papillote and Jim McGuire, lead cook, for his Country Style Ribs.
Chef Austin topped off the evening by preparing his own mouth-watering version of Bananas Foster. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and hope this will become an annual event here at Robson Ranch.