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The Sierra Chef Challenge features local talents battling it out for the coveted Sierra Chef title.

The annual Sierra Chef Challenge includes five chefs each cooking against one another with a mystery box of locally grown ingredients. Each chef will have to complete two dishes made from the secret ingredients, as well as a commissary table that will be shared by all the chef’s for produce, dairy & dry goods needs. The chefs will have 45 minutes to complete their dishes, and will be disqualifed from judging if the time frame is not met.  Each will prepare six plates per round, and will be judged on creativity, presentation, taste, and use of secret ingredients. Only one chef will leave with the coveted Sierra Chef title.

Beyond the Sierra Chef award, the winner will also recieve a handmade 8.5″ Sample the Sierra engraved Chef knife and matching chef kit from the professional culinary retailer and Main Stage Sponsor, Town Cutler. The runner up will recieve a 6″ Sample the Sierra engraved Town Cutler Utility Knife. To learn more about Town Cutler, click here.

The competition will begin at 2 p.m. on the Sierra Stage and will conclude around 3:30 p.m. with the announcement of the winner!

2019 Competitors

Amateur Chef Michael Sheldon

Michael Sheldon was born and raised in California and now resides in Incline Village. He began his Culinary passions after leaving the US Navy. He has worked as a server in a variety of restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, The chance to work as a server allowed Michael to learn many skills from the Chefs that would mentor him and share their passion of cooking. Meanwhile, he was able to attend college to earn his degree in finance. While balancing his career in finance, as well as pursuing his culinary passions, Michael would become the general manager of the catering team in a popular Palo Alto restaurant. This provided him the ability to not only run a team of top notch catering staff, but also allow him to express his passion in developing creative dishes.

Michael’s culinary skills not only afforded him the opportunity to be a part of many well known venues, he was also given the venue to try out for Master Chef. Michael incorporated his finance skills which allowed him to be part of many restaurant openings. He acted as the financial partner bringing in capital for many start ups. Although finance is his primary career, his heart has always been in the love of exemplary food preparations and wine pairings.

Chef Michael Lynard, Cold Water Brewery & Grill

A graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona, Chef Michael began his career under the tutelage of French Master Chef March Erhler at Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort and Chef Ehrler’s  5 Diamond Restaurant, The Ventana Room, where he served as Team Captain for the Tucson ACF Junior Competition Cooking Team.

Chef Michael’s culinary skills have taken him around the country including 3 summers as Executive Chef at the Mad Minnow, Cape Cod; Lead Cook at Target Field (Go Twins!) and Sous Chef for The Grand Hotel Minneapolis, part of the Kimpton Hotel Group. Through Kimpton, he found a home in Aspen, Colorado working as the Sous Chef for Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro and Aspen Ski Company Culinary Mountain Division. In Aspen Valley, Chef Michael was part of opening teams of Capitol Creek Brewery and The Way Home, the casual fine dining restaurant of his good friend, Chef Flip Wise.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Chef Michael, an avid golfer and skier, is thrilled to have found a home in South Lake with his Cold Water Brewery and Grill Family.

Asst. Executive Chef Lonny Huot, Edgewood Tahoe

A native of New Hampshire, Lonny has 30 years of culinary experience in luxury hotels & resorts across the United States. Notable properties include the Willard Intercontinental in Washington DC and the five-star Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. He was the opening chef at the Club at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast, Florida, and the resort executive chef at the Villas of Grand Cypress Orlando, Florida. When not in the kitchen you may find Lonny on the golf course or at the beach with his wife and children.

Executive Chef Andrew Anderson, Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery


With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Chef Andrew Anderson brings a fresh approach to the kitchen while honoring sacred culinary values he’s learned along the way. He began his career in family-owned restaurants in Georgia and Michigan and later expanded his reach to kitchens all over the US. His versatility is rare, a testament to his diverse culinary background. When a new restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan called on him to master a completely vegan, organic menu he answered. While working in Austin, Texas he learned that the complex flavors of BBQ come from simplicity. His knowledge base is always growing and his curiosity for food is undying. Now acting as Executive Chef and Consultant in Lake Tahoe, he’s found his rhythm and it’s brought him back to basics: keep things simple, fresh and easy. He draws inspiration from the minimalist Japanese approach to cooking that provides the ability to give a complex experience. He has been instrumental in the success of a number of oyster bars, steak houses and BBQ restaurants in The Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe area and looks forward to his next culinary challenge.

Chef Dean Hiatt, Poor Red’s


As Northern California native, Dean Hiatt, was raised fishing, hiking and exploring El Dorado County and beyond. Following High School, Dean began chasing his childhood dreams and spent time as both a Firefighter in Cameron Park and a touring member of the band, Fenix-TX. After a few world wind years, he decided to return home to Cameron Park.

Never one to linger for long, Dean took a trip to Vegas with friends and fell in love with the atmosphere and the food, and realized that he could make his love for cooking into a career. He made the move to Vegas in 2008 and accepted a job with David Burke, a celebrity chef from New York. As he worked his way up to Sous Chef at the Venetian, Dean learned more about food and flavor than he thought possible.

Dean then joined the new Pause Lounge and Kitchen in Roseville as their Sous Chef, and late went on to work at Firestone Public House in Midtown Sacramento and The Old Firehouse, which one awarded the Best Fine Dining in Sacramento on the Food Network.

Returning back to El Dorado County with 19 years of experience under his belt, Dean committed himself to helping raise the phoenix that is known as Poor Red’s. Since then, Dean has been voted as one of the top Chefs of El Dorado County the past two years, as well as helped Poor Red’s win over 19 awards during that same time, making Poor Red’s the most award-winning restaurant in the entire county.

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