Silverdale’s Cash Brewing Company participated in the 2019 Beer and Bacon Classic at T-Mobile Park on May 4 and wound up going home with the honor of Best Overall Food.
The event, now in its sixth year, features over 30 restaurants and 50 breweries from across the state working to show off their culinary and brewing talents to foodies and beer enthusiasts. Cash Brewing has participated in the event before, but only on the beer side. This year was the first that the group decided to venture over into the food category, a foray which was pushed for by Cash’s executive chef, Chris Haberstock.
“Chef came up to me and said we should get the food in there as well, he had been years prior,” Thomas Cash, owner of Cash Brewing said.
Most restaurants were from the Seattle area, but the breweries came from all over the state, Cash said.
The process of preparing the food for the thousands of people in attendance takes a lot of time, work and planning, but Habertsock was motivated to put his best foot forward.
“Seeing the entries of the previous year’s, I felt I had a decent shot,” Habertsock said. “I came up with 20-25 great ideas, narrowed it down to three, then to one.”
Haberstock prepared over 5,500 pulled pork Asian infused street tacos. The process of making the dish starts with rubbing down 480 pounds of pork with ginger powder and garlic powder before roasting it. Once roasted, the pork is braised in coconut milk, soy sauce, sriracha and mirin. Then the process of pulling all the pork begins before it is ready to be served.
A mango-sugar pea salsa and a sweet wasabi crema was also served to go along with the pork, which were both presented on warm four-inch flour tortillas.
“It came together really nicely,” Habertsock said. “My crew did very well, definitely couldn’t have done it without them.”
Days like this can be hectic, but chef Habertsock and his crew felt they were prepared for it.
“I was really focused on putting out the best product possible,” he said. “It’s non-stop for four hours. Everybody was talking about the tacos and we got a lot of compliments on how fast our service was. There was numerous times I would look up and the line was easily 50-60 feet long. People said they would stand in line for 20-30 minutes just to try the taco.”
Receiving an award after a full day of prep and hard work made it that much more enjoyable, according to Cash.
“It’s a grueling event, chef was up at 3:30 in the morning,” he said. “It’s a 24-hour day but it was all worth it to take home a trophy.”
“It feels amazing and humbling. We hugged and celebrated, and in the process, ended up breaking the trophy,” Haberstock said with a chuckle. “It feels really great to be recognized like that.”
The trophy is not only just something cool to brag about and look at either, Haberstock said the award will also help to increase exposure for the restaurant and brewery.
“Every fifth person in line was like ‘where are you guys from,’” he said. “Just the exposure alone I feel will really help us.”
Habertsock has been in the restaurant industry for over 26 years, starting out at McDonalds, “just like any other teen,” he said. He decided to attend culinary school in 2003 and graduated with an award for excellence. A few stints as a sous chef at various spots around the county gave him the experience he needed before becoming an executive chef at the Oyster Bay Inn, located in Bremerton. Haberstock ventured through a couple more restaurants in the county before landing at Cash Brewing last year.
“He has taken this kitchen to a new level,” Cash said. “To be able to see people enjoying their food and having them say this is some of the best food they’ve ever had is impressive to hear.”
Cash Brewing is starting to incorporate daily specials that are prepared by Habertsock, with the street tacos being one of the featured dishes.
Although the street tacos took home some hardware, Cash Brewing also had a booth set up to show off some of their top beers as well. The three beers on display were the award-winning Top Spin Double IPA, Simple Pleasures Blueberry Vanilla Porter and Daddy Sawbucks Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, which is a collaboration beer they did with Western Red Brewing in Poulsbo.
Both Cash and Habertsock said that they will be entering the festival again next year to defend their prize. Cash Brewing will also be featured in the Gig Harbor Brew Festival on May 18th and Bike Night, which occurs the last Wednesday of every month from May to September.
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org