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Grand Finale: Legendary Madison Chef vs. Surprise Challenger

Grand Finale: Legendary Madison Chef vs. Surprise Challenger

Tailgate U - Sn 1/Ep 4Tailgate U - Sn 1/Ep 4

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Chef Meacham heads to Madison, Wisconsin — the country's cheese capital — to train his apprentice to compete in a tailgate cook-off against a professional.

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- Yo what's up, I'm Chef Meach. As another college football season kicks off, we're setting out to find chefs from the nation's greatest rivalries. We will join them as they go head to head, and what better than a tailgate cook off? This is Tailgate U. All right yo, what's up? I'm Chef Meach, and we're back with the grand finale of Tailgate U. This time we're in Madison, Wisconsin, the cheese capital of the United States. Over the past three weeks we've had some pretty amazing battles. My apprentices have held their own, and these legendary chefs have done work too. But this week, we have a competition unlike any other one. But before we meet our competitors, let's see what Madison has to offer. Let's go. This time of the year in Madison, you're in one or two places on a Saturday morning. You're either at a tailgate getting ready for the big game, or at America's largest producers-only farmer's market. With over 300 local vendors with everything from fresh garlic to Wisconsin's favorite spicy cheese bread let's see what we can find. Madison is growing tons of produce. You can tell by this spread right here. You're peppers look amazing. - All organic and it's all grown on the farms. All these peppers have different countries of origin so when people shop, especially in a diverse community like Madison they're kind of identify with the pepper they may have grown up with. - I have never seen these before. - [Farmer] They're really a hybrid, but they're very sweet and spicy. Probably on the level of a Thai pepper. - Yeah, that would be good with the berry relish, or something. Bring out a little but of that sweetness. I definitely want to do some of these Black Beauties. These right here, Shishitos, I'm very familiar with these. I'll take a whole box. Thank you. - Thank you guys. - [Meach] See you guys. I'm not familiar with this type of garlic. - The Warsaw Red is like a nationally known garlic, so it does well in a lot of different cooking competitions. - [Meach] It's good in cooking competitions? - Yeah. - Hm, I think I might have to get that one. Look at this garlic, this stuff is amazing. Cheese curds, so this is your cheese right here. - This is our cheese, we just made it yesterday. - What would you say the most popular cheese curd here in Wisconsin is? - The most popular is the plains. In Wisconsin you usually see orange cheddar curd. All cheese is made from curd. From here, most of these will be pressed into blocks of cheddar cheese. We're just digging the fresh, raw farm to eat as finger food. - [Meach] I'm going to go with plain, and is this spicy? - [Cheese Producer] Yes, jalapeno pepper. - [Meach] I'm going to do one of each. - [Cheese Producer] Sounds good. - All right, so usually I don't get to meet the legend chef until competition time. This time we're doing it a little different, let's go. - My name is Susie Fortman and we are in Neosho, Wisconsin. I joined the military in 2007 and within two weeks I was deployed to Iraq and was in the Middle East for about a year. While I was in the military I was fortunate enough to be on a culinary team where I got to cook for troops. Our meal service time, you serve between 350 and 500 a meal, every day. I was also lucky enough to travel parts of Iraq and try their cuisine over there which was an amazing experience. Cheese in Wisconsin obviously is pretty much the main ingredient. It's a big German community and it's a big Irish community so you have a lot of those European influences to the food around you. The football culture here, it's in your blood. For tailgating we always go out, have a good time. It's a great experience to be with family and friends, just to relax, have some great tailgate food, and enjoy the game. When I grew up, my mom, she worked her ass off to support my brother and me as a single mother. We didn't have gourmet foods or fancy meals, but she did everything she could to make sure we had a meal in our stomachs. My main goal in life is to try and learn as much as I can about cooking. I'm very competitive. My first professional culinary competition, I placed a medal and found out you know what? I'm actually pretty good at this. So I stuck with it and I've been trying to learn everything I can since. - Chef Susie. - [Susie] Hello. - [Meach] Pleasure to meet you. - Pleasure to meet you, too. - I'm Chef Meach. I have never been to Wisconsin, this is a beautiful state. So what are we doing in an apple orchard? - A lot of people, when they think of Wisconsin they just think cheese, beer, that's it. But we have a huge agricultural community and apple orchards is definitely one of them. - All right, so I'm a complete rookie when it comes to picking apples. - All you've got to do right here is when you grab the apple look at which way the stem's growing. Twist and then pull the opposite way so it just pops right off. - [Meach] Okay. - [Susie] Perfect. - [Meach] Pretty easy, right? All right, so these apples need a new home. - Yes they do. - I think we should make something, right? - Yes, we can get some apple pies going. - Oh, I love apple pie. - How are you doing, Matt? - Great, how are you doing, Susie? - Great, here's my friend, Chef Meach here. - Nice to meet you. - Welcome, Chef Meach. - [Meach] So Pine Hill is the name of your orchard. How long have you guys been doing this? - We've been doing this for 39 years. - It's beautiful. So we have these apples here, what are we going to do with them? - We're going to make our signature Pine Hill crunch apple pie. - That sounds delicious. What is this? - This is the apple core slicer machine. Put it on, three revolutions. And you've got yourself a peeled, cored apple. - [Susie] That's a magical piece of equipment. - That is beautiful. - To slice it, just put it right on the end. You've got 18 pieces of apple now. - All right, so I want to give it a try. - [Susie] Easy as pie. - [Meach] Easy as pie, look at that. There we go, there we go. - [Susie] Let's try this, yeah. - That's perfect. - All right, so we have our apple filling right here. We just mixed that up. - [Matt] I usually go about a scoop. - That's a pretty hefty scoop. - [Meach] This is how you guys do it in Wisconsin, huh? - [Susie] Oh yes. - Heaping, all right. - [Susie] I'm digging little baby scoops. - [Matt] As long as we get the same amount in there. - All right, you called it a crunch though. What's the topping? - [Matt] It's gonna be brown sugar, a pecan-oatmeal flour, of course Wisconsin butter. All right, you have honors, toss it right over. - [Meach] Just dump it out? - Susie] Dump it. - All right, so now we just start packing it on the pie? - [Matt] Yes, do a nice little... - [Susie] A nice little... - [Matt] A nice little coating. - It's like an apple pie shepherd's pie almost. - [Matt] A little blanket on there, sugar, butter. - Sugar and butter, count me in. - [Meach] All right, so how did we do? - I think they look phenomenal. Thank you so much for making them. - Thank you for the lesson, it was a pleasure to meet you. - Pleasure to meet you, too. - Thank you, Matt. - No problem, Susie, any time. - All right, so yo, we are here, Madison, Wisconsin. This is the grand finale of Tailgate U. And this is going to be epic. Over here I have Chef Susie, our legendary chef representing Wisconsin. And back here I have my judges, the dynamic duo, Jake and James, representing Milwaukee. These two have been working together in the kitchen for years and have tackled their fair share of tailgates. And I told you I have something special in store for this challenge. As you can see, my competitor is not here yet. I have to go get him, I'll be right back. - Ha. - What up, Susie? This week's competitor is me. How do you feel about that, Susie? - It's okay. - It's okay, oh, ready for this battle? - Are you ready for this battle? - I'm ready, it's going to be fun. All right, so I need you guys to step up and host this battle. - Good luck. And for today's secret ingredients we have, oh snap looks like we've got some venison, cheese curds, and some apples. Happy Wisconsin to you all. - Since Chef Meach is competing in today's competition we're going to do a quick plot twist to even the score. - So Chef Susie, actually you get to take away one of your opponent's kitchen utensils. - Okay. - [Meach] My hands are like knives, Susie. It doesn't matter what you're taking. - [Judge] So she takes this cast iron skillet. - I don't need that, get that out of here, Susie. - [Judge] Competitors, are you ready? - I'm ready. - [Judge] Meach, Susie, all right let's see what you got. Three, two, one. Go. - [Judge] Good thing you took away Meach's cast iron skillet. - Can't fry cheese curds without a skillet. - [Meach] Yeah, she needs that more than me. - [Judge] Gonna batter those curds? - [Meach] I think I will. For that batter I'm going to do a little Dr. Pepper action. - [Judge] So what's going on here? What are you planning on doing? - I'm just trying to cube up this butternut squash like a healthy substitute for a potato. - [Meach] What is this, what is all this stuff? Who arranged all these ingredients? What is this, who did this? - All right guys, if you're feeling a little scared you should be. - Hey Susie, look, look, look you should have took this. - Shut him down, shut him down. - Be afraid, Susie. I'm not your average competitor, Susie. - Well, there's a first time to lose for everybody. - [Meach] Not this guy. - [Judge] What kind of cheese curds you got there? - [Meach] Hot pepper cheddar. - 23 minutes left. - [Meach] Hey Susie, normally I teach classes. - Yeah, but you know, every time I watch you all I hear is blah, blah, blah. - [Judge] She's having fun today. - [Meach] So this is that garlic, the person at the market said it's really good for winning competitions. - Oh, well that would prove to be perfect for you today. - [Meach]Butter. - [Judge] A little bacon action, you can never go wrong with some bacon. - [Susie] Oh yeah, you always got to put bacon in cabbage. - [Meach] It's getting crazy up in here, things are flying. - You've got 16 1/2 minutes. - [Meach] A little cider, I've never done this before. Whoo, kale's looking good. - [Judge] Ooh, you smell that? - [Judge] I smell that, that smells good. - Did he take all of the flour? - [Judge] You stealing her flour, come on now. - Hey man, things happen. - So what's your plan for this venison? Just get a good sear on it and let it rest? - [Susie] I just want to do a basic salt and pepper. These are getting a little hot, actually. - [Judge] Ah, comes the blender. - [Judge] Oh, she got the blender out. - [Susie] Got the blender. - Yeah, she needs that blender. - [Judge] Chefs, we have 10 minutes. - Oh, you're making smoothies? I like papaya. - He's wasting all this time smack talking. - [Meach] I'm going to use the inverted side of the pan as a saute pan since Susie took my cast iron. - [Judge] I hope your cooking enough for all these folks. - [Meach] What up, guys? - We're gonna hope for the best right now. - Some charred Brussel sprouts, little bit of essence of bacon. I have a strawberry rhubarb, jalapeno gastrique. - [Susie] You got a nice glaze on them. - [Meach] And I have my venison right here. - [Susie] Great grill marks. - [Judge] Three minutes, competitors. - [Judge] Chef Meach, you've got a lot of cheese curds. She's got cheese curds wrapped in bacon over here. - [Meach] Yeah, that's pretty easy to do. - [Susie] Is that rubber? - [Judge] How's that squash? - [Susie] Squash is about ready to be plated up. - [Meach] How you feeling about that venison? That is a good sear. Can I plate on this? - [Judge] Of course you can, of course you can. - [Meach] Look at those curds, look at those curds coming out. - [Susie] It's a little over medium, but. - [Meach] Make this dish in my restaurant all the time. - [Judge] Oh, do you? - No. - [Judge] Ooh, there you go, 30 seconds chefs. The venison looks good. That is a pretty plate over here. Finish it up, finish it up. - Let's just put some cheese crumbles on top. Why not, it's Wisconsin. - [Judges] Three, two, one, that's it. - Nice job, chefs. - Thank you, Chef, good job. - Good job. - [Judge] All right Chef Susie, tell us about your dish. - What we have here is a little bit of seared venison. We have sauteed sweet potatoes, a little bit of braised cabbage. Then the two sauces are a creamy mushroom sauce and a ground cherry and wolf apple chutney. - [Judge] These are bacon-wrapped cheese curds? - [Susie] Yes they are, they are bacon-wrapped cheese curds. - Very nice. - Thank you. - All right Chef, tell us about your dish. - Well chefs, we have a Dr. Pepper battered cheese curd. Cheese curd has a little bit of heat, so I wanted to balance that out with a strawberry-rhubarb jalapeno gastrique. Right here I have my braised greens, little bit of apple. And then herb-marinated venison, charred Brussel sprouts on top of that, and there's lemon habenero, a little barbecue sauce to tie it all together. - Very nice, beautiful. Let's go make a decision. - [Jake] That was awesome. - So what do you think? - Both the chefs did a really good job. - And it's hard to just nail one, but we go to. Let's talk about creativity, Meach's ability to adapt using the upside-down pan which was really smart. I think Chef Susie, she made both of her two contrasting sauces both from scratch, which lend a great diversity to her dish. I have to give creativity to Chef Susie. - I agree with that 100%. What about presentation, though? Chef Meach's was beautiful. - Meach knocked it out of the park, he killed it. Using the cutting board as opposed to a traditional plate. - [Jake] Thinking outside of the box. I mean that's one for Meach and one for Susie. Taste. - Taste, I think that both dishes were done very, very well. At the end of the day my stomach's got to be happy. - Yeah, I think we know who one this one today at Tailgate U. - Chefs, both of you did an amazing, amazing job. Thank you very much, congratulations. - Very good job, guys. There wasn't anything lacking about either one of these dishes, that's for sure. It was a very, very tough decision. - [James] Chef Meach, maybe next time, buddy. - [Jake] Congratulations, Chef Susie. - Thank you. - Good job. - [Susie] Good job, Meach. - [Meach] Thank you, thank you chefs. - Thank you. - All right, guys there you have it. We've crossed the country, saw a ton of great tailgates. The legendary chefs have held their own. Our apprentices have held their own. I'm Chef Meach, this was Tailgate U, and we're out. Thank you very much.

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