Half Moon awards ‘Sauce Boss’ title to Paradise Valley resident

PV resident and Sauce Boss Champ Mark Motta alongside Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill’s Executive Chef Marlene Portillo.

PV resident and Sauce Boss Champ Mark Motta alongside Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill’s Executive Chef Marlene Portillo.

Paradise Valley resident and Sauce Boss Champ Mark Motta alongside Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill’s Executive Chef Marlene Portillo.

Paradise Valley resident Mark Motta has retained the title of “Sauce Boss” for the second year in a row in the 2015 Half Moon Sauce Boss Competition.

The contest, held recently at Half Moon Sports Grill, featured six finalists from a roster of 35 home chefs — including Mr. Motta, who was last year’s champion.

Mr. Motta received a $250 cash prize, one free pound of wings every day for a year at either Half Moon location, and his award winning Holy Mole Wing Sauce will be featured on a future Half Moon menu.

“I didn’t expect to win for second year in a row,” said Mr. Motta. “This year, I wanted to create a sauce distinctive to Arizona’s heritage using ingredients native to this area. I used ingredients like tomatillos and guava paste that can be easily found in town at Spanish grocery stores like Food City and Pro’s Ranch Market.”

The first runner-up was Al Ruskin of Peoria for his Jack Daniels Blue Ribbon Wing Sauce. A crowd favorite, Mr. Ruskin was also awarded the People’s Choice award and received a $100 cash prize for that honor.

Each finalist’s wing sauce submission was sampled and voted on by a panel of local celebrity/VIP judges including EaterAZ Founder Dave Tyda, FOX Sports 910’s Mike Jack Bauer, Chef Mike Mauri of Sysco Arizona, and Half Moon Windy City Executive Chef Marlene Portillo.

The Half Moon Sauce Boss champion was determined by combined scores. Scoring was based on overall flavor, originality and appropriate heat.

Half Moon Sports Grill is located at 2121 E. Highland Ave., Phoenix, and 288 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix.

Visit halfmoonsportsgrill.com.

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