You could say Joshua Vail was in the right place at the right time.
Vail, evening culinary supervisor at Lucky Dumpling, and chef Manni Medina teamed up as a last-minute entry in the Taste of Pikes Peak chef cook-off March 8 at The Broadmoor Hall.
Although they didn’t have time for preparation after stepping in for a team that bailed, Vail and Medina ended up with the top prize, taking home the Chef de Cuisine traveling trophy and a check for $500. The trophy will be at Lucky Dumpling for the remainder of the year.
Vail’s wife, Corey, said this on a Facebook posting: “My amazingly talented husband. On this day 18 years ago, you were walking out of prison in full body restraints only to be released at the gate with 100 bucks in your pocket and great big world of possibilities at your feet. (Vail served four years for possession of a controlled substance.) It could have gone either way at that point. Today, you walk with your head held high, passion in your heart and a whole new world of possibilities before you. Proud doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about you in this moment.”
Vail also took first in the entree round of the competition, organized by the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association. Brandon Atencio, of Shuga’s, won for best appetizer. Chris Lerdall and Brian Blasnek of Tapateria and Patrick Swetnam of Bon Appétite tied for overall runner-up.