Chef Edie Wins Pro BBQ Plate Division at the Santa Barbara Independent’s 5th Annual Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest

From Goin ‘cue Crazy, by George Yatchisin
Originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent, July 3, 2014

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Pro BBQ Plate Winner: Edie Robertson

Roasted-local-organic-coffee-, cumin-, and smoked-paprika-rubbed marinated filet mignon with a flame-roasted red bell pepper harissa plus pork belly medallion. Photo by Paul Wellman.

Pro BBQ Plate Winner: Edie Robertson

It’s getting to the point we might just name this the Edie Robertson BBQ Contest and be done with it — she’s won the professional meaty plate twice now, judged once, and won the pro-am veggie twice. In fact, we killed that latter category this year due to lack of entrants, and we believe it may be because other would-be veggie grillers didn’t sign up out of sheer fear.

Robertson certainly shows no fear, which isn’t surprising given an almost comically wide-ranging résumé that includes the “jobs” of executive chef/co-owner of the Sojourner Café for 10 years, world champion skateboarder, and lead vocalist of the first American rock band to tour China. “My brain is always ticking, a blessing and a curse!” said Robertson of how she keeps developing exciting winning dishes. “There are always things to learn — new foods to experience, manipulate, and experiment with. You never stop learning and growing in the culinary arena. And sometimes don’t overthink things; keep it simple, and let the great original product sing.”

The song her plate sung this year was cleverly billed “For Richer or Porker.” “It was basically the fact that the cost of the filet was four times that of the pork belly, and together they made a great food marriage, and the ‘richer or poorer’ vow popped into my head,” she explained. “The twist was just to make it foodie friendly. I can definitely get deeper into a social-economic analysis about it … but I won’t!”

She also has advice for those eager to get charcoal smudged at home: “Have fun and don’t be intimidated by the grill. I think anything can taste better licked by the fire. Failures are part of the learning curve so embrace them, as well. Try to re-create things you have had and enjoyed and put your own twist on them. Happy BBQing!”

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