There is no denying that the cauldron of talent which makes up Austin's food and wine scene is bubbling wildly, growing hotter and hotter before our eyes. This past June- June 17, 2013- to be exact, our Austin Team sponsored Uchi's Citywide 86d Event at the At&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The event, which is reminiscent of Food Network's famed TV show Chopped
, gave 4 Austin-area chefs (narrowed down from an initial 16) the challenge to present 3 courses of their cooking creativity to a panel of judges with a strict time clock and no prior knowledge of the given ingredients. The "Final Four" ended up being John Hajash of Congress, Brandon Martin from Foreign & Domestic along with Sway's Joaquin Cebollas and Chase Gintner. The panel of judges, which included many of the finest chefs in the state, were Mat Clouser from Swift's Attic
, Jason Dady from Jason Dady Restaurants
, Aaron Franklin from Franklin BBQ
and Josh Watkins from The Carillon.
After each of the 3 coarses, the panelists would eliminate (or 86'd, as the slang goes) 1 contestant until they were left with their winner.
Attendees of the event were able to watch the chefs in action thanks to the glassed-in kitchen along with large, flat-screen TVs which were set up throughout the event.
There were plenty of great gastronomic distractions as well, including delicious eats from Freedmen's, Cafe Jose, Kome, Uchi and more, along with sips from local sommeliers Scott Ota, Mark Sayre and Bill Elsey.
With each of the three coarses, the panelists eliminated a contestant based on their ideas, the presentation, and of course, the overall taste. John Hajash from Bar Congress ended up with the title, being named the 1st Citywide 86'd Winner, taking home our "Stock Pot Trophy" along with anticipated opportunity to stage with chefs in NYC including David Chang!
The other contestants received gifts, which included gift cards to Mission Restaurant Supply in Austin, and each will have the opportunity to work with reverred chefs and operations throughout the state, giving them a change to learn, grow, and further develop their techniques. All proceeds from ticket sales benefitted the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. We had a wonderful time and look forward to being a part of the 2nd annual Citywide 86'd Event next year!