Kansas Star Executive Sous Chef Sizzles at Celebrity Cook-Off

The summer kicked off with a hot start for Kansas Star Casino. Woodfire Grille Executive Sous Chef Jennifer Reifschneider brought home the “Best Tasting Table” award for the second year in a row at the Celebrity Cook-Off event on June 13. The experienced chef also placed first for the entire event. The popular restaurant at the Kansas Star has placed in the contest for the past three years.

“Jenn is like the dark horse in the Wichita Market,” said Rick Goldstein, Assistant General Manager of the Kansas Star Casino.

Goldstein furthered, “she brings a wealth of knowledge and culinary expertise to the Kansas Star Casino that could be utilized anywhere and Jenn chooses us. We are extremely proud that she is part of our team. From the leadership team down, a win like this brings happiness to the entire Kansas Star Team.”

“Bringing home the win places the entire team on cloud nine,” Goldstein said. “We all strive to achieve perfection, knowing that if we can reach excellence, we’ve done our job.”

The Celebrity Cook-Off is known for its sweet twist, giving chefs a surprise ingredient to incorporate into their dish. Reifschneider walked into this challenge with confidence. Each chef is paired with a local celebrity partner as they prepare dishes in front of an enthused audience.

“The dish needed something to make the flavors stand out, so I was hoping whatever the secret ingredient was would help in that way,” said Reifschneider. “I was very happy to learn our secret ingredient was cherries and they worked perfectly with my dish.”

Reifschneider and Wichita City Council member Janet Miller made for a good team. For the competition, Miller assisted in the assembling of the chef’s menu of pan seared and basted halibut, sauce soubise, handmade crab tortellini, shaved asparagus, fresh herb salad, and a cherry and Serrano pepper relish.

“She was great and a big help,” said the award-winning chef. “At our tasting table we served strawberry gazpacho and smoked short ribs with a peach BBQ sauce.” 

The event consisted of six chefs who each prepared an entrée of their choice to showcase their skills. Once the chefs completed their entrees, they were auctioned off to support the Orpheum Theatre. The winning bidder had the opportunity to try the dish they won and share it with their table.

“My favorite part of the experience was just getting to compete with some of Wichita's best chefs,” said Reifschneider. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent the Kansas Star Casino and Boyd Gaming at an event like this, and was very excited to bring home two trophies. Winning was pretty great, too.”