Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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It’s Chef vs. Chef at Max’s Harvest Summerlong Showdown

June 16th, 2015 · No Comments

Chef Adam Brown

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

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

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