Two Days, Eight Chefs, $10,000!
Just two days until the Minnesota Monthly Local Chef Challenge! I love this event. The first year I judged it (as a random WCCO-TV reporter) led to my job writing for the magazine and doing food reporting.
But I love this event because of the crazy combinations of chefs that we get to see up close, working feverishly to come up with an amazing dish.
Jorge from Solera and Donald from Forepaugh's at 10 a.m.? Two extremely talented chefs. The Barbette/Birchwood battle at noon with Sarah against Marshall? Plus two of the hottest chef/restaurants in town at 2 p.m. with Nick from Borough and Sameh from WSK and Saffron? And then the returning champ against the runner-up: Doug from Piccolo against JD from the Strip Club?
Go ahead and try to predict a winner in all of those battles—I sure can't even hazard a guess.
I love that this is at the Mall of America Rotunda, because it's free and anyone can come up and watch. We put the action on the big screen, talk with the chefs as they cook, and they have no idea what secret ingredients they'll have to incorporate. The winner's dish always tastes the best... but what really creates the winner is a screw-up. Typically something goes wrong in the loser's dish (Maybe they shied away from a strange secret ingredient. Maybe one element is over or under-cooked.)—and that's it. It's the mistake that sinks rather than the triumph that soars.
Either way, it's a lot of fun, and there's serious money on the line—$10,000. So I hope you'll come out, say hello, and cheer on your favorite chefs in the challenge all day Saturday, and then Sunday starting up again at 11 a.m.!