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Ernie’s chef going for Bloody Mary honors

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Ernie’s chef going for Bloody Mary honors

Chef Michael Midgley in Bloody Mary brunch contest.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED August 9, 2014 12:45 a.m.

From the kitchen to the bar, Michael Midgley has a knack for finding his way into the limelight. 

The executive chef at Ernie’s Food & Spirits has entered his signature Bloody Mary in a national contest and he’s hoping some local support will carry him all the way to the finals. 

The contest: the CHOPPED Best Bloody Mary Brunch.

The terms: Bartenders and chefs from around the country submit the ingredients and mixing instructions for their signature Bloody Mary. Votes are collected online through the month of August, with the top vote-getters earning a trip to the finals in New York City in October. 

Midgley is no stranger to contests. 

The Stockton native made his TV debut as a silver-tongued, street-wise participant on Top Chef Season Two. He also appeared in multiple episodes of Esquire’s Knife Fight as a judge and heckler, and was an episode winner on The Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.

Now, he’s tending bar – with a chef’s twist, of course.

Midgley stays true to his roots with his Bloody Heirloom, which includes two parts heirloom tomato consommé; one part Absolut Peppar; half part red wine veal demi; half part Lucille’s Bloody Mary mix; and a squeeze of line. 

The ingredients are poured into a shaker – “… and shake, baby,” Midgley said – strained and served in a chilled martini glass. The drink is garnished with a bamboo pick, banana pepper, cocktail onion, lime wedge and olive.

“It’s the ultimate ‘foodie’ Bloody Mary – tomato consommé, veal demi, and it’s a martini style (that) gets rid of the hangover quick,” Midgley said. “The taste is unreal. You just have to try it. Those that have can’t believe it.”

It’s got quite a following.

The Bloody Heirloom has garnered the third-most votes in California, as of press time on Thursday. There are 11 entries from the Golden State. Midgley says he needs to crack the top-10 nationally to be invited to New York for the final on Oct. 18. Once there, finalists will be judged by local chefs, past contestants and a panel of CHOPPED judges.

Voting ends Aug. 31.

To vote, visit

“Vote for the Bloody Heirloom,” he wrote on Facebook, “and help me take over the world.”

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