For the third year in a row, I attended the Chefs Taste Challenge. And just like the years one and two, it was pretty great. This year, the competition consisted of ten chefs from the South, including three chefs from Louisiana. These were the competing chefs:
1. Alex Belew, Alex Belew Catering Murfreesboro, TN
2. Robert Butts, Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours Atlanta, GA
3. Kaimana Chee, Hampton Creek & Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz, Silver Spring, MD
4. Jacob Cureton, Atchafalaya, New Orleans, LA
5. Eric Fulkerson, Bald Headed Bistro, Cleveland, TN
6. Evelyn Garcia, Pop Ups by Chef Evelyn, Houston, TX
7. Alex Harrell, Angeline, New Orleans, LA
8. Blake Jackson, Drake Catering, Shreveport, LA
9. James Versfelt, Shelbourne South Beach, Miami Beach, FL
10. Ülfet Özyabasligil Ralph, Little St. Simons Island, St. Simons Island, GA
Congratulations to the 2017 Chefs Taste Challenge Winners! From left to right, Alex Harrell (2nd place); Kaimana Chee (1st place); Alex Belew (Fan Favorite).
Myself and a gang of other foodies tasted our way through one-of-a-kind dishes prepared with the most unconventional pairings of ingredients. Here’s what we indulged in:
Chef Alex Belew‘s Rice Grit Congee & Tomkha Broth, Quinoa Sesame Black Drum | Fan Favorite
Chef Jacob Cureton‘s “The Eel Ate Okra” (Smoked Eel with Okra)
Chef Kaimana Chee‘s “Kalua Pig Sundae” (Whole Pig with Breadfruit) | Winner
Chef Robert Butt‘s “Octopus Meets Jelly” (Octopus with Mayhaw Jelly)
Chef Evelyn Garcia‘s Thai Style Shrimp Curry
Centerplate‘s Short Rib with Stone Ground Blue Corn
Each plate was paired with a glass if Bonterra Organic Wine, which has easily become one of my faves. The event was also overflowing with beer from sponsor Lazy Magnolia Brewery.
I enjoyed a few of the plates, but I’d have to say my fave (as far as taste) was Chef Evelyn Garcia‘s Thai Style Shrimp Curry (although she didn’t win). As for presentation, Chef Kaimana Chee‘s “Kalua Pig Sundae” was super unique and hands down the best.
If you’d like to attend next year’s event, or wanna know more info, check out the official site.