WELLINGTON — Chef Mike Castaneda recently took first place for Kansas in the soup category of the World Food Championship for his dish, Asian flank steak ramen.
“I was for sure nervous and anxious,” Castaneda said. “I was ecstatic when I saw my name on there.”
Castaneda and other state champions from the soup category will compete November in Dallas with the winner receiving the first-place $10,000 prize. There are 10 categories, including burgers, seafood, barbecue and desserts.
The winners of each category will then compete early in 2021 for the $100,000 prize.
For his Asian flank steak ramen, Castenda used ramen noodles and added broth, cilantro, soy egg and green onions. The steak came from KC Cattle, a company owned by a former Army ranger.
“It’s all about having some depth,” Castaneda said. “Having additions.”
The meat is from a “different breed with a higher fat content that makes it more tender and flavorful,” Castaneda said.
There are Asian and Mexican ingredients in the soup, also.
“I think they’re very compatible,” Castaneda said. “I want to do things with the Mexican-Asian fusion. I think it’s going to be huge.”
Castaneda said he wants his dish to be better every single time he makes it.
“I want it chewy, crispy, tart,” he said. “I want every aspect of food, something to savor in every single bite.”
The first year he entered the contest, Castaneda qualified for the Food World Championship, taking sixth place and later went on to take two second-place prizes.
Castaneda made a name for himself writing about food online and cooking for football teams and others.
“That opened some crazy doors,” he said. “I did stuff with the (Kansas City) Chiefs before the Super Bowl.”
In 2015, the Food Network named Castaneda one of the Top 10 cooks in America.
Castaneda lives in Wellington with his wife, Lindsay, and their three children.