2 Chefs battled it out a few weeks ago at the freshly minted Mess Hall at Liberty Public Market.

But this wasn’t just by coincidence. It was the final round of Avocado Madness, a food competition sponsored by Avocados of Mexico, and put on by Chef’s Roll. They beat out 64 other chefs submitting avocado-inspired recipes in different categories. It was like a basketball bracket, but with chefs, each week trimming the remaining chefs in half. The 2 remaining chefs were then flown to San Diego to duke it out in front of a live audience.

Judges
Photo by Rob Forsythe.

And did I mention that they were being judged by a panel of judges, no strangers to the food world or food competitions including, last year’s Avocado Madness winner & and World Food Champion Chef Ricardo Heredia , Chef De Cuisine of Mess HallChef Colin Murray, Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman – (Deckman’s Valle de Guadalupe), MasterChef 6 winner Chef Claudia Sandoval, Pioneer of cross-border cuisine & Executive Chef of the recently nominated James Beard restaurant Bracero – Chef Javier Plascencia, as well as Director of Food Service Marketing for  Avocados From MexicoChef Mark Garcia. No pressure, right?

Upon arrival to the event, we were greeted by new and familiar faces as well as IPA’s by Bitter Brothers & signature cocktails by Blue Bridge Hospitality. Off to a great start!

The evening was kicked off by San Diego Magazine‘s & Food Network’s Troy Johnson who emceed the madness giving play-by-plays, while the chefs plated their beautiful dishes!

Selfies with the usual suspects as I make my way to my table. I’m seated a great group which includes Chef DJ, Gustaf Anders Rooth (aka El Sueco Loco), and Dan Nattrass of FishBone Kitchen.

The Chefs

A quick glance and you can see Chef Joshua Ingraham means business. He’s the Executive Chef for the MLB team the Cleveland Indians, and it looks like he’s come to play ball. This dude is no stranger to competition. His Chef’s Roll page quotes him saying, “I’ve spent a lifetime perfecting myself within the culinary industry and the martial arts world.” As you read on, you see that he went to college to play baseball and graduated with a culinary degree. His profile pic? Him with a chef hat and a baseball bat.

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As I read over Chef Ashleigh Fleming Sherman‘s Chef’s Roll page, it’s clear that she was born to be a chef. Her profile saying, “One of my fondest memories is bundling up, getting up early, and counting and weighing fish side by side with my father in a walk-in on Sundays as we did inventory. Not many six-year-olds would have counted this as a great time! My father always has said I was born with it in my blood.” Pretty awesome that she’s been doing this since she was that young. Her profile pic? Her… all smiles, like she knows she’s got this and she loves it.

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As the first 2 courses rolled out, so did the wine, courtesy of  Eleven Eleven Wines.

The Dishes

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Citrus Cured Opah / Avocado Coconut Horchata / Cilantro Avocado Slaw / Pineapple / Avocado Tortilla Crisp

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Grilled Opah Loin “Rockefeller”: Oyster butter / Avocado Béchamel / Opah Belly Bacon / Pickled Cucumber Blooms

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Coriander and Cumin Crusted Aussie Lamb Loin / Black Garlic Charred Avocado Puree / Avocado Confit / Purple Potatoes in Avocado Chile Butter / Romanesco Cauliflower / Avocado Salsa Verde

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Chorizo Crusted Loin of Australian Lamb: Sous Vide Lamb / Coee Ancho Ash Rub / Fresh Grits / Chile Spiced Popcorn / Micro Broccoli / Ring of Fire

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Buttermilk Avocado Chess Pie / Pistachio and Avocado Brittle / Pickled Spring Strawberries / White Chocolate Avocado Sauce / Vanilla Salt

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Dessert Avocado Burrata: Handmade Burrata Cheese / Avocado Buttercream / Torched Cherry Tomatoes / Lime Curd / Hot Cinnamon Green Tea Matcha Syrup

At the end of the night, the judges and the crowd got to vote for their favorite chef! It was tough, but Chef Ashleigh  was victorious!

p.s. Remember how I told you that Chef Ashleigh at 6 years old would be counting and weighing fish with her father? Guess who was in her corner? 🙂

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Follow Chef’s Roll on Facebook or Instagram, to stay abreast of any future events and #RollWithUs

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