Chef Adam Brown of The Cooper competes in the first round of the contest. /courtesy photo
Summer’s slow in South Florida restaurants, so to spice up the season, restaurateur Dennis Max and his team came up with a chef throwdown.
Sixteen chefs will face off, two each week, to battle for the win.
Calling chefs from around the area, a draw for competitors was held at Max’s Harvest in Delray Beach earlier this month. Possibly inspired by the NCAA bracketing going on while planning it, the competition will be carried out in elimination rounds throughout the summer. From the field of 16 chefs, one winner will emerge after 15 weekly battles.
Max said he expects this to be “one of the most exciting food events of the year.” He points to numerous notable chefs who call South Florida home, and who will bring their best game to the contests.
Chef Ben Burger, Neiman Marcus
The event is loosely based on the TV show, “Knife Fights.” Each chef will be given three “secret” ingredients to use along with a set pantry of ingredients to cook two or three dishes within the 1 hour time limit.
First round judging June 17
Dennis Max, of the Max Restaurant Group, Bill Hansen of Bill Hansen Catering and I will judge the first round. Competition kicks off at 9:30 p.m. at Max’s Harvest Wednesday, June 17.
Adam Brown of The Cooper in Palm Beach Gardens will take on chef Ben Burger of Neiman Marcus.
The contest is open to the public each week. A $10 donation to the Naoma Donnelley Haggin Boys & Girls Club in Delray Beach gets you a drink; food will be available for purchase at happy hour prices
The next rounds feature these chefs facing off:
- Week 2, June 24: James Strine, Café Boulud vs. Paul Niedermann, Hudson’s
- Week 3, July 1: Victor Meneses, El Camino vs. Victor Franco, Oceans 234
- Week 4, July 8: Danielle Herring, Rebel House vs. Che Frey, Henry’s
- Week 5, July 15: John Thomas, Tryst vs. Aaron Goldberg, Bogart’s
- Week 6, July 22: Eric Grutka, Ian’s Tropical Grill vs. Jarod Higgins, Cut 432
- Week 7, July 29: Kelley Randall, The Office vs. Bruce Feingold, Dada’s
- Week 8, August 5: Chris Miracolo, S3 vs. Blake Malatesta, 50 Ocean
Quarter-final dates are Aug. 12, 19, 26, and Sept. 2.
Semi-finals are Sept. 9 and 16, and the winner will be crowned Sept. 23.
Prizes will be awarded weekly, leading up to the grand prize that comes with the title. All contests take place at Max’s Harvest.
- Max’s Harvest
- 169 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach
- 561-381-9970; maxsharvest.com
Tags: Calendar: SoFla Food Events · Chefs of Note · What's Happening Here
This Thursday, West Palm’s Downtown Development Authority hosts the 4th annual Pairings Wine and Food event. It’s a fun night of strolling around downtown and getting samples of foods that represent the restaurants, as well as tours of shops and other businesses that will have discounts, sales and special offers for Pairing participants.
A number of restaurants and food spots will be serving tastes off their menus in sample sizes, paired with wines, beers, or cocktails.
Guacamole from Rocco’s Tacos will be sampled.
A sampling of what’s in store:
- A Moscow mule and chicken meatballs from Hullabaloo
- A pomegranate mojito and chicken skewer from Leila
- A negroni, and a traditional Italian cocktail with Mamma’s Meatballs from Lynora’s Osteria
- Choice of wine with a mini beef, chicken or shepherd’s pie from O’Shea’s Irish Pub
- Margarita and guacamole from Rocco’s Tacops
- Mini cupcakes and coffee from Cafe Sweets Bakery
Several more restaurants will participate.
Other businesses, including Ultima Fitness Downtown, Run & Roll, Palm Beach Dramaworks and Palm Beach Segway Tours are offering discounts at their stores, and most will be open during the event.
Ticket prices cover admission, all samples and discounts.
For more information, visit the Downtown West Palm Beach website.
If you go:
Pairings West Palm Beach
- Downtown West Palm Beach
- 5:30-9 p.m., Thursday, May 28
- Tickets $25 online and $30 at the gate
- Information and tickets at downtownwpb.com/events/pairings/
Tags: What's Happening Here
Spicy Citrus and Smoked Salmon Salad /courtesy photo
What a perfect summer recipe! Spicy Citrus and Smoked Salmon Salad is perfect for a light dinner – or if made in mini-taco shells, would make great appetizers for a pool party.
Like any good dish, it’s all about balance of texture, color, and flavor. The kick comes from the Citrus Habanero olive oil, while the salt from the smoked salmon works to balance the sweet mango. Cabbage lends it a crunch, and avocados add a little creaminess.
The tropical salad can be made ahead since shredded cabbage holds up well – just add the avocados at the last minute if you do so to keep them fresh.
Spicy Citrus and Smoked Salmon Salad
1 10-ounce package shredded green cabbage (or a variety you prefer)
6 green onions, diced
1 mango, cubed
8 ounces smoked salmon, broken up or cut into small pieces – see note
1 to 2 avocados, sliced
3 tablespoons Citrus Habanero olive oil – see note
2 tablespoons Mango White Riserva balsamic vinegar – see note
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
*Note: Any smoked fish would work; smoked wahoo would be a good choice if available. Flavored oil and vinegars are available at The Olive Tap.
Use the filling for a fresh take on tacos. Make a mini version as appetizers.
Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Top with green onions, mango, and smoked salmon.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together Citrus Habanero olive oil, Mango Balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour vinaigrette over cabbage mixture, and toss gently to combine.
Top with avocado slices before serving.
For tacos: Use regular sized or mini corn or flour tortillas, or lettuce wraps for shells; stuff with smoked salmon filling and drizzle with creme fraiche mixed with lemon juice.
Recipe is an Olive Tap original recipe by Melanie, Long Grove, Calif.
Tags: Recipes · What I'm cooking