Terry Farrar relies on his training during mystery box cook-off

by: WILSONVILLE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Chef Terry Farrar took home top honors at the Tualatin Crawfish Festival mystery box cook-off challenge. He is chef at Holiday Inns BooneTown Bistro and Bar.Terry Farrar didn’t prepare for the Tualatin Crawdad Festival Mystery Box Chef Cook-Off Competition Aug. 9, but that didn’t stop him from winning the competition.

Farrar said he wanted to practice, but he oversees all food at the Holiday Inn Portland South in Wilsonville, and he simply didn’t have time before the competition.

Six chefs were given a mystery box of ingredients during the event at the annual Tualatin Crawfish Festival and were told to make the best dish they could.

Farrar, who has been the executive chef at the Holiday Inn for a year now, competed against Ed Truax, a Tualatin city councilor and local foodie; Josh Gregory, a chef at E.B. Smokey; Adam Higgs, chef and owner of Acadio Bistro; Jim Miller, a health and wellness expert at Boom Fitness; and Chris Carriker, a freelance executive chef. by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Chef Terry Farrar made a winning dish of crawfish stew, salad and a hash with potatoes and peppers.

Farrar has been busy lately with the remodel and re-imaging of the new BooneTown Bistro and Bar that the hotel recently opened.

“I figured it was going to be like the shows you see on TV where they put something strange in it, like Life Savers or something,” Farrar said. “Turns out, it was pretty normal ingredients, and I just relied on my training.”

Crawfish, corn, peppers, garlic and several other ingredients were in “the mystery box” — Farrar couldn’t remember them all — but the chef with 30 years of experience said he just thought back to his classic French training.

“I learned how to cook in New York with a group of French chefs who didn’t know English,” he said. “It was hard to learn, but I did, and I just used what they taught me. It seemed to work out.”

Farrar made a crawfish stew, salad and a hash with the potatoes and peppers.

“My original plan was to make some garlic mashed potatoes, but I couldn’t get the water to boil on the burners they gave us,” Farrar said. “So I just rolled with it and thought of the upscale comfort food we do at the Holiday Inn and made something we would serve here.”

Farrar said he knew he might have done well when he looked at his platter after the judges tasted the food, and it was almost empty. He won, and received a trophy shaped as a plate and a set of Shun knives.

“They are great knives. I am saving them for a special occasion,” he said as he got the box out. “It was a lot of fun and a great event.”

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