Tag Archives: san diego food bank

Sunday Night Chef Fights in San Diego

First, the fancy official info:

Sunday Night Chef Fights are a live cooking competition launching this summer in the Inland Empire, San Diego, and Orange County pitting local chefs of renown against each other in a head-to-head culinary battle in front of an audience. Two esteemed local chefs will sharpen their knives and step into the culinary ring to determine just who is San Diego’s “Top Chef,” as ForgottenGrapes.com presents the inaugural San Diego Sunday Night Chef Fight cooking competition live Sunday August 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Kitchen Art Studio in the Plaza Sorrento Shopping Center (6755 Mira Mesa Blvd., Suite 134).

Chef Geordie Moulios, chef/owner of Cin Cin Simply Italian in Poway, will face the heat and face off against his opponent, Chef Richard B. Schmitt, Executive Chef and Head Instructor of Barbeques Galore’s Cooking Experience cooking school in San Diego, in this high-stakes live cooking competition where the local audience gets to serve as judge, jury, and taste-cutioner.

Each Sunday Night Chef Fight is a fast-paced, no-holds-barred culinary showdown similar to popular cooking competition shows on TV, but with a few extra twists thrown in to entertain. Before each event, both chefs are given three base ingredients – a protein, vegetable, and starch/grain – that must be included in their creations, a shopping allowance, and a week to plan and prep their dishes for the sixty members of the audience jury. Then, during the Sunday Night Chef Fight itself, each chef and his or her sous-chef will have only 30 minutes to cook and finish their dishes as well as incorporate a “mystery ingredient” into the mix while host Chris Kern peppers him or her with questions and keeps the audience apprised and entertained. The audience rates each chef’s creations in three categories, the totals are tallied at the end of the night, and one chef will be crowned the winner, receive the Sunday Night Chef Fight’s trophy, the title of “Champion Chef of San Diego,” and the opportunity to defend his or her title against a new local chef challenger at the next Sunday Night Chef Fight, to be held in October or November. “Sunday Night Chef Fights are the ultimate challenge for any outstanding chef,” notes Chris Kern, founder of ForgottenGrapes.com, creator of Sunday Night Chef Fights, and host of the event. “Not only are the chefs testing their culinary creativity and ability to work against the clock and against each other, but they’ve now got sixty local gourmets, foodies, and self- appointed food critics judging their creations.”

Each Sunday Night Chef Fight will also include as an “undercard” bout Vino Vidi Vici, a blind wine tasting competition in which all audience members taste three themed but unlabeled wines, select a favorite, and then have the opportunity to purchase either the winner or the wines they liked best. The name and varietal of each bottle will be revealed over the course of the Chef Fight.

Tickets are currently on sale at SundayNightChefFights.

Now, I’ll tell you why I’m sad we can’t go (we’re hosting a much-awaited welcome-home bbq that day): Chef Rich Schmitt is our favorite at the Barbeques Galore Outdoor Cooking School (even though he now spends most of his time ramping up the Austin, TX location) and he’s a lot of fun to watch. I, personally, am not a fan of Cin Cin (and if you can point me to a dish that will change my mind, I’d be much obliged) so I’m totally rooting for Chef Rich and it would have been fun to do so in person. I have no idea if the event is worth $50, but it’s about what you’d pay for a bbq class and you’d get to taste both chef’s dishes. It’s an interesting concept – a local Iron Chef-type event and I’m guessing it would drive a lot of traffic to the winner.  If anyone goes or know someone who does, I’d love to hear about it!

In other blatant fundraising news, if you haven’t yet donated to the Food 4 Kids Backpack Fundraiser and would love a chance to attend a bbq class, I have a surprise for you coming up.

Food 4 Kids Fundraiser and Backpack Drive

Last year, Alice and Caron organized this amazing fundraiser for the San Diego Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids program. The program provides hungry elementary school children with a backpack full of kid-friendly food every Friday. These kids need this program because, while they qualify for free or reduced-cost meals at school, they may not have adequate food on the weekends. In 2008-2009, the program was only available to 200 children throughout eight San Diego County schools. They are now able to serve 550 children in 19 schools and are hoping to expand to 850 kids this year.

This year’s fundraiser is much like last year’s, with multiple ways you can help:

  • Monetary Fundraiser: A fundraising site has been set up on firstgiving.com/food4kids to allow interested individuals to make monetary donations, add comments and keep track of the fundraiser’s progress. All donors are eligible for prizes donated by local restaurants and businesses which will be awarded by random drawing at the end of the event. A paltry $6.00 per week funds one child, and a donation of $250.00 will fund a backpack for a child for the entire 36 week school year.
  • Backpack and Food Drive on August 21 at Little Italy Mercato: On August 21, a food and backpack drive will be held at the Little Italy Mercato. Members of the community are asked to bring neutral backpacks (as in no logos and preferably black or red) and kid-friendly non-perishable foods (such as applesauce, cereal, fruit cups, mac ‘n cheese, pretzels, etc., and other healthful foods) to the Little Italy Mercato between 9 AM and 1 PM, where Food 4 Kids volunteers and Food Bank personnel will be on hand to collect them.
  • Dollar-a-Dish Program: August 1 – August 31: A “Dollar-a-Dish” event is set to run throughout the month of August at participating restaurants. These restaurants will select one of their best selling menu items and will contribute $1 to the Food 4 Kids program for every order of that dish sold during the month of August. At present, 30 restaurants have signed on to participate including: Alchemy, Bencotto, Café Chloe, Cosmopolitan Restaurant, Cowboy Star, Croce’s, Cucina Urbana, Dining Details (Catering,) Gaglione Brothers, George’s at the Cove, Hilton Garden Inn – Del Mar, JRDN, JSix, Kensington Grill, Lotsa Pasta, Nine-Ten, O’Brothers, Pizza Fusion, Playa Grill, Ritual Tavern, Royal India, Sessions Public, Soleluna Café, SoNo Trading Company, Starlite, Stingaree, Terra, The Red Door, Urban Solace and Zenbu.

If you’d like to read the full press release, you can view it here. Updates for the fundraiser are easily found on Alice or Caron’s websites (which you should be reading regularly, anyway!)

I don’t know if I’ll be able to wrangle up a raffle prize and we’re going to be out of town the weekend of the Backpack Drive, but you can bet I’m going to get out and try some of those Dollar-a-Dish restaurants! It’s a really great program and it benefits so many kids in San Diego. You never know who might need help, and the thought of a child going hungry over a weekend is heartbreaking.