That’s right… 10G’s & Bragging rights. That’s pretty awesome stuff considering that the 2 competing chefs beat out 64 kick ass chefs to make it to the finals. Put on by Chef’s Roll sponsored by Avocados from Mexico, Avocado Madness lived up to its hype!
Adding to the excitement? One of San Diego’s own is a finalist, while other is also from Cali – reinforcing the reality that Cali is home to some of the best in the biz.
And it all came down to this… An invite-only event, masterfully emceed by culinary visionary Andrew Spurgin, that included the city’s best chefs along with culinary press, 2 chefs, and 3 Avocado inspired dishes. The judge’s panel included Katherine Humphus of Kats Kitchen Collective, Tommy Gomes Of Catalina Offshore Products, Troy Johnson (Food Critic) & Javier Plascencia of the much-anticipated Bracero Cocina. None of these peeps are strangers to the food world or judging food competitions and all of them are cool as hell.
Hosted by Kitchen 4140 & Chef Kurt Metzger, the restaurant was a perfect spot that allowed the actual plating of each dish to become part of the performance, giving us a glimpse of the behind the scenes culinary creativity required.
Let me give you the breakdown on the rounds leading up to Round 6 – The Final Competition.
The Rounds: Each dish required an Avocado From Mexico as one of the ingredients.
Round 1: Avocado-inspired Sandwich Recipe
Round 2: Avocado-inspired Salad/Ceviche Recipe
Round 3: Avocado-inspired Appetizer Recipe
Round 4: Avocado-inspired Baked Good/Dessert Recipe
Round 5: Avocado-inspired Asian Entrée
Round 6: Head-to-head live competition creating an avocado-inspired menu
The Competing Chefs
Chef Dorian Southall
A quick look at his Chef’s Roll page shows that although he currently is Executive Chef at Crescent Hotel & Resorts, he is no stranger to San Diego. Just looking at his resume, it looks like he’s held some challenging positions in demanding venues. Establishments which take pride in their work presentation and talent. Dorian’s acknowledges that his belief in strong communities is reflected in his passion to source local and work local.
Chef Ricardo Heredia
Glancing at Chef Ricardo Chef’s Roll page you can see that he to is accustomed to performing at the highest levels. Chef Ricardo is cutting edge kind of guy and he always brings his A-game to every competition. His latest feats include being named 2013 & 2014 World Bacon Champion and the 2014 World Food Champion. In addition he created Kitchen Mafioso, a consulting and education company dedicated to giving back to the community.
The chefs put some serious thought and creativity into each dish incorporating avocado. Avocado may have been more present in some dishes than in others, but the goal was accomplished and I’m quite sure that after this Avocado Madness, both will hold off on making anything avocado related… haha
Pepper Seared Baja Hiramasa
Avocado fritter / herb & caper chimichurri / tomato jam / fried leeks / charred frisee
Caramelized Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Brussel sprouts / pecans / avocado grits / mustard & lime butter
Olive Oil & Avocado Cake
Vanilla ice cream / candied blood oranges / tarragon / sorrel gel
Baja Hiramasa Fish Taco
Avocado tortilla / chia seed aguachile / avocado-bacon fat mayo / fried squash blossom
Pork Loin with Avocado Mole Verde
Flor de junio bean puree / epazote / Jamaica / pickled onion / avocado oil
Chocolate-avocado custard / avocado caramel / almond milk marshmallow / crystallized honey
The audience was enthralled with each dish garnering feedback and resulting in copious note taking … With 10Gs on the line, competitors were as serious as they come since the winner also gets automatically qualified to the World Food Championships as well as the chance to win 100K. Culinary Rockstars galore – Chef Andrew Spurgin of Andrew Spurgin LTD, Chef Drew Deckman of Deckman’s en el Mogor, Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach, Tony Nguyen, Nino Neens Camilo, Chef Mikel Anthony, Michael Esposito, and Ken & Rebecca Gardon to name a few. Snake Oil Cocktail kept everyone happy with an avocado inspired drink as well! So good, you almost forgot there was alcohol in it! 😉
Although both chefs kicked ass with each of their dishes, there could only be one winner. And the people’s choice and Judge’s choice both agreed that Chef Ricardo Heredia earned that win and a chance to defend his title at the World Food Championship. Felicidades Chef!
p.s. Thanks to Chef’s Roll, Catalina Offshore Products, ChefWorks, Kitchen 4140, Andrew Spurgin, Avocados from Mexico and everyone else involved with such an awesome event! If you’re a chef or in the food industry, click HERE and sign up!!