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The Suburbanite
  • Chef Pullin is Super Bowl bound

  •  Mark Pullin, executive chef of the Canton Club Event Center, won the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Taste of the NFL cooking competition, earning him a spot as a showcased chef at this year’s National Taste of the NFL Party, held Super Bowl eve in Indianapolis.

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  •  Mark Pullin, executive chef of the Canton Club Event Center, is Super Bowl bound.
    Pullin won the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Taste of the NFL cooking competition, earning him a spot as a showcased chef at this year’s National Taste of the NFL Party, held Super Bowl eve in Indianapolis.
    “I can’t wait to cook some good food and meet some good people,” said Pullin, 30, who placed first at the local event with a roasted red pepper bisque. Pullin and 35 other Taste of the NFL winning chefs, each representing an NFL team or city, will be cooking for 2,500 guests partying at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Tickets to the elite celebrity-packed event are $600.
    “I’ll hopefully get to rub elbows with Buddy the Baker and Ted Allen,” Pullin said, referring to Buddy Valastro from the show “Cake Boss” and Ted Allen of “Chopped.” “It’s cool. It’s national exposure.”
    Pullin is making about 35 gallons of the bisque, enough for 1,000 sample servings. While Pullin and a staff member fly out, Canton Club managing partner Chuck Schuster will drive the bisque to Indianapolis.
    “I’m hauling it out in a motor home. I’ve never driven a motor home, especially one full of bisque,” Schuster said. “Hopefully there won’t be any snow.”  
    The precious cargo is no ordinary soup.
    “(Pullin) serves it with creme fraiche, and makes these miniature Asiago cheese croutons that go on top,” Schuster said. “They are amazing, almost like little grilled cheese sandwiches.”
    It’s a favorite dish at the Canton Club. In fact, patrons themselves selected it for the competition.
    “We had 10 of our frequent customers in on a First Friday and (Pullin) gave them a number of dishes to taste,” Schuster said. “Then he had them choose what two items we should put in the competition. They picked the bisque and a salmon crab cake.”
    At the National Taste of the NFL, chefs serve just one dish.
    “They preferred the bisque,” Pullin said, “because it’s a vegetarian item, the only one they will have there.”
    Since the win, Pullin has heard lots of “Atta Boy!” He’s also heard lots of teasing.
    The night of the win in September 2010, he and his staff assumed they were going to Texas five months later for the 2011 Super Bowl. Then they realized the contest works a year ahead, which meant they were not going to a glamorous, sun-soaked city. Their win was for 2012, which meant they would be headed to the state next door — with the same crummy weather we have.
    “The flight’s so short I don’t even know if they’ll have enough time to pass out peanuts,” Pullin said with a chuckle. “It’ll still be great.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The 2011 local event was won by chef Carl Falcone of Bender’s Tavern, which means he goes to the 2013 Super Bowl — in balmy New Orleans. This year’s competition takes place once again in September at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The winner there will go to the 2014 Super Bowl, held at Meadowlands Stadium in New York. Proceeds of Taste of the NFL events raise funds to fight hunger in every NFL city.

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