Chefs Participate in “Ingredient Draft” for Chefs Taste Challenge Event will be held August 19 in New Orleans

The ten chef finalists of the Farm to Table Chefs Taste Challenge participated in an “Ingredient Draft” to select the products they will use to create their showcase dish for the August 19th competition. The chefs, who hail from across the nation, will compete to create the best dish that utilizes farm-fresh items from a pantry of seasonal ingredients donated by state agricultural departments.

Chefs will create their recipe using these ingredients selected in the draft:

  • Nicholas Calias, The Colonnade Hotel & Brasserie Jo, Boston, MA
    • Whole Amberjack, Lentils, Yellow Squash
  • Henry Chandler, Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Acworth, GA
    • Beef – Inside Round, Mushrooms, Chick Peas
  • Eric Cook, The American Sector, New Orleans, LA
    • Whole White Gulf Shrimp, Praline Rum, Green Squash
  • Mark Henry, Brother Luck Street Eats, Colorado Springs, CO
    • Wild Boar, Nectarines, Chili Peppers
  • Clint Jolly, Great Thyme Catering, Reno, NV
    • Alligator Meat, Sweet Corn, Potatoes
  • Alexa Lemley, 240sweet Artisan Foodworks, Columbus, IN
    • Whole Speckled Trout, Whiskey, Cottage Cheese
  • Leonardo Maurelli, III, Ariccia Trattoria at The Hotel at University of Auburn, Auburn, AL
    • Cubed Beef, Peaches, Romano Cheese
  • Chef Plum, Plumluvfoods, Newtown, CT
    • Baby Black Drum, Sea Asparagus, Pecans
  • David Ruiz, Pueblo Harvest Café, Albuquerque, NM
    • Chicken Thighs, Blue Corn, Ginger Syrup
  • Lee Anne Wong, KH Restaurants, Honolulu, HI
    • Quail, Hearts of Palm, Mayhaw Jelly

The event will be emceed by Chef Kevin Belton of the New Orleans School of Cooking and the PBS show “New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton.” Participating chefs’ dishes will be judged by a panel of industry-renowned judges. Confirmed judges include Tory McPhail, Executive Chef of Commander’s Palace; Gary Prell, Vice President Culinary Development, Centerplate; Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming, The James Beard Foundation; and Chef Nedra Harris, Author and former “Hell’s Kitchen” competitor. The top two dishes will be selected for Gold and Silver Chefs Taste Challenge awards. A “Fan Favorite” award will also be presented based on voting from dinner attendees. All ten selected chefs will receive national recognition for their participation in the Chefs Taste Challenge dinner event.

Tickets start at $129 and include tastings of the menus prepared by the competing chefs, wine/beer pairings, souvenir wine glass, and a voting card to determine a “fan favorite” dish.

Upgraded experiences and sponsorships are also available. The “Foodie” level is $189 per person or $1,295 for a table of eight, and includes all benefits mentioned above, plus a seated dining option overlooking the chef stations, early access to food and wine, admittance to a special VIP section with exclusive beverage service, starter glass of champagne, and a chef or wine connoisseur to guide the tasting experience.

Limited tickets are also available for the “Gourmet” experience, which is $599 per person and includes all of the “Foodie” level benefits, plus the opportunity to assist one competing chef with food preparation, a special announcement of sponsorship at the event, and a sponsor listing on the Farm to Table conference website and show guide.

The Chefs Taste Challenge is produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and is held in conjunction with the Farm to Table Experience, taking place August 18-20, 2016. F2Te explores the cultivation, distribution and consumption of food and drink sourced locally to globally. For more information on F2Te, please visit


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