Top Chefs Clash in the Kitchen sweet for city

Published 12:02 am Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vicksburg chef Jay Parmegiani has taken the cake — again.

His sweet potato dessert has earned him the third annual Clash in the Kitchen title — the second for the owner of Roca Restaurant and Bar at the Vicksburg Country Club.

Parmegiani won the contest two years ago, and Tom Ramsey, a former Vicksburg resident who is executive chef at Jackson’s Underground 119, won the 2010 event — giving the River City three top honors in a row.

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The wins show that Vicksburg knows good food.

Parmegiani, the son of longtime local chef Jacques Parmegiani, has been in the kitchen his whole life. He attended Johnson & Wales University’s Miami campus after attending Vicksburg High School. He returned in 1999 to work with his father. Ten years later, he opened Roca. His skills and endless imagination keep the dishes fresh.

At the first Clash in the Kitchen, in 2009, Parmegiani defeated Cedar Grove chef John Kellogg in a friendly face-off that featured shrimp as the main ingredient. This year, Parmegiani’s dessert, made with sweet potatoes, sour cream flavored ice cream and cinnamon-tinged butter, took the contest.

Parmegiani says he will re-create the dish — upon request.

Clash in the Kitchen benefits the nonprofit Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Association, which aids individuals and families of those who have been affected by serious burn injuries.

This year’s judges, including Vicksburg’s Patrick House of NBC’s “Biggest Loser” fame, heaped praise upon Parmegiani.

The cuisine lovers in this community should feel proud.

If Clash in the Kitchen is the guide, Vicksburg is not only the River City, but also the culinary capital of Mississippi.