Food & Wine's Best New Chefs share their favorite Final Four recipes

The NCAA tournament is coming to a close with the Final Four right around the corner. Like any good sporting event, the Final Four is the perfect time to entertain guests. In preparation for this weekend's games, we asked several of Food & Wine's 2015 Best New Chefs to share their favorite game day recipes with us.

    Katie Button
    Curate (Asheville, NC)

    Final Four prediction: My pick is Duke to bring the win home to N.C.! I think Kentucky will beat Wisconsin, and then Duke is going to take the win over Kentucky. Kentucky is the odds-on favorite, but Duke is on fire right now!

    Game day recipe: Crackersnacks

    Typically when you think of Cracker Jack, you think of baseball, but I think it is the perfect food for munching during any game. It is also really quick recipe to make. I don't know if you are like me, but when I'm watching basketball and things get more and more tense I find myself frantically snacking, and my snacking intensity increases with the intensity of the game. This crackersnacks recipe with its spiced caramel corn and roasted peanuts is perfect constant munching.

    Yield: 7 cups

    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
    • 1 cup salted roasted peanuts
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
    • Pinch of cayenne
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

    1. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and shake the saucepan to coat the kernels with oil. Cook over moderate heat until the popping slows to several seconds between pops. Remove from the heat and wait 30 seconds, then pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add the peanuts, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne and toss well to coat the popcorn.

    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of oil with the sugar, salt and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until a light amber caramel forms, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss quickly with spoons to evenly coat the popcorn and peanuts. Spread the popcorn mixture on the baking sheet in an even layer and let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces.

    Michael Fojtasek & Grae Nonas
    Olamaie (Austin, TX)

    Final Four prediction: Grae predicts that Duke will win – that is if Wade Boggs doesn't come out of the stands and beat everybody. Michael is rooting for Kentucky because he loves bourbon and Dan Jones (one of the talented Olamaie barmen) is from there.

    Game day recipe: Chicken wings
    Buttermilk marinade
    Chop chives, parsley and tarragon. Whisk everything together.
    • 200 g Buttermilk
    • 80 g Mayo
    • 20 g Tabasco
    • 16 g Garlic (microplaned)
    • 56 g Lemon juice
    • 24 g Chives
    • 16 g Parsley
    • 8 g Tarragon
    • 16 g Kosher salt
    Blackening spice (all spices ground)
    • 290 g Paprika
    • 45 g Curry powder
    • 5 g Celery seed
    • 35 g Mustard seed
    • 10 g White pepper
    • 10 g Corriander
    • 40 g Kosher salt
    Chili honey sorghum glaze
    • 110 g Sorghum
    • 60 g Honey
    • 20 g Sherry vinegar
    • 3 g Chili flake
    • 8 g Benne seed

    1. Marinate two pounds of wings in buttermilk marinade for twenty-four hours. Reserve 1/4 of the marinade for dipping sauce.

    2. Drain wings and coat in blackening spice. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Broil for the last 5 minutes or so to get great texture on the skin. Be careful not to burn. You're just looking for a deep dark color and crunchy skin.

    3. Remove from oven and toss in chili honey sorghum glaze. Coat in toasted benne seed (sesame if unavailable). Add 150g of creme fraiche to reserved buttermilk marinade as dipping sauce.

    Ori Menashe
    Bestia (Los Angeles, CA)

    Final Four prediction: I believe Wisconsin will beat Kentucky and Duke beats Michigan state. Wisconsin beats Duke in the final.

    Game day recipe: Double fried chicken wings
    • 25 Chicken Wings Split Into Two
    • 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
    • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
    • 1 Tablespoon Shallots
    • 1 Tablespoon Chili Flakes
    • ½ Cup Soy Sauce

    Yield: 4 servings

    1. Lay the chicken wings flat on a sheet tray and season with salt and pepper. Dust with all-purpose flour. Drop the chicken wings in a fryer with the temperature at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes. Drain the oil and fry the chicken wings again until they are golden.

    2. In a small sauce pot mix balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, shallots and chili flakes.

    3. Reduce the ingredients in a pot for twenty minutes on low heat until the sauce thickens.

    4. Once the sauce has thickened, add soy sauce and bring to a low simmer for five minutes.

    5. Toss the chicken in a bowl with the prepared sauce and enjoy!

    Zoi Antonitsas
    Westward (Seattle, WA)

    Final Four prediction: Kentucky!

    Game day recipe: Grilled yogurt and chili-marinated chicken wings
    • 1 cup greek yogurt
    • 1 T kosher salt
    • 1 T Aleppo chili (or chili flake)
    • 1/4 c chopped mint
    • 2 T evoo
    Honey sauce (mix together before adding to the wings)
    • Zest and juice of two lemons
    • 1/4 c Greek honey
    • 1 tsp finishing salt (i.e. fleur de sel, maldon, etc)
    • 1 T toasted sesame seeds and/or nigella seeds
    • A few torn mint leaves

    Yield: 3-6 wings per person, depending on your friends...

    1. Prepare one day ahead: 12 chicken wings, tips removed, cut into two pieces at the joint.

    2. The next day: Grill the wings over a medium to high heat with the lid on and vents open, approximately eight minutes per side.

    3. Remove from the grill and place in a large bowl. Add the honey sauce.

    4. Open a bottle of sparkling rose to accompany or stick with beer. I'd have a mythos.

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