There was sizzle, drizzle, sear and even a little bit of fire when nine of Dayton’s premiere Chef’s went head to head in a Chopped inspired “Chef Showdown” Saturday. With three qualifying rounds on Saturday, chefs had 20 minutes to turn a mystery basket with 4 ingredients into a winning dish at the Dayton Home and Garden Show at the Dayton Convention Center.
On the Kroger stage, event emcee Jim Bucher helped introduce the mystery baskets, created by event producer Lisa Grigsby, of Dayton Most Metro. Basket one included Lychee Nuts, Chicken, canned spinach and cranberry cinnamon goat cheese. Chefs were able to supplement their appeizer with ingredients from the Kroger pantry.
The contest judges, brought in from Dayton Most Metro included: Kevin Rankin, Laura Rea, Duane Myers, Ann Roberts and Steve “Big Ragu” Milano
Local culinary fans packed the room where the competition took place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm respectively, and the results are in….
ROUND 1 WRAP UP:
Chef Candace Rinke, from Hawthorn Grill won round one with her chicken appetizer on a pita triangle. She barely edged out 2 other delicious chicken creations. One from Chef David Glynn, of Dayton Country Club, who incorporated numerous ingredients into a large chicken dish, and Chef Aaron Braun of Meadowlark who wowed the judges with his bacon wrapped chicken and goat cheese.
ROUND 2 WRAP UP:
Chef Mariah Gahagan, from Lily’s Bistro was victorious in round 2 with a salmon dish that flowed with a perfect melody of flavor, from edge to edge with greens and avocados. Close behind was Chef Richard Roberts, of De’Lish Cafe, who made a salmon pita appetizer with swiss cheese, and used a blow torch for a carmelized smoky flavor. Chef Crystal Coppock, from Wheat Penny also made it a tight race, with her salmon seared on spinach, with bamboo shoots, but as timer buzzed she realized her Tamarind sauce (one of the required ingredients), which was absolutely killer- according to the judges, didn’t make her plates.
ROUND 3 WRAP UP:
Scratch Catering owner Chef Matt Hayden took the winning honors in the final round in an epic battle that included a temporary flare up of flames. Using scallops, Matt concocted a deep fried fritter (Indian Pakora) with an amazing Indian influenced Tandoori sauce. Following close behind was Chef LeeAnne House, from HouseMade Sauces. LeeAnne’s appetizer was a colorful combo of sauteed greens, peppers and veggies with scallops on bruschetta. Also keeping the contest close was Chef Nathan Vance from Salar Restaurant, who
wowed the crowd with his unshakable concentration during the hectic round. Nathan’s creation included placing the scallops over greens, with some sauteed veggie and a delicious sauce drizzle.
At 1pm today at the DAYTON HOME AND GARDEN SHOW at the Convention Center, the three advancing chefs met up for a final round of competition. This time around they had 25 minutes to turn 5 mystery ingredients into an entree. As the clock started, it was revealed that shrimp, black beans, asparagus, canned peaches and canned tomatoes were the base for the meal.
Just a few minutes into cooking Chef Mariah’s burner malfunctioned and Chef Matt left his station to assist here, and Chef Candice reached over to pull Chef Matt’s saute pan off the fire, so his food didn’t burn. This sense of teamwork, even in the middle of a competition, just exemplifies the character of our local culinary community.
Judges Ann Roberts, a local foodie, Alexis Larsen of the DAI and writer for Dayton Daily News and Executive Chef Don Warfe of Christopher’s spent a good 10 minutes, tasting and deliberating and commenting on the expertise of the entrees from all the chefs. Warfe, who spent time on tv for Gordon Ramsey’s” Kitchen Nightmares” questioned the chefs about the use of ingredients and complimented the flavors of the food. Larsen shared she “was impressed with the ability of the trio to turn canned ingredients we often have in our pantry to fresh tasting, flavorful meals.” Ann Roberts had the honor of announcing that the “bread salad” created by Hawthorn Grill Chef/Owner Candace Rinke won her the title of Chef Showdown Championship and $500 cash from the Dayton Home & Garden Show.