Culinary Competition At "The Taste"

July 6, 2011 Updated Jul 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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July 6, 2011 Updated Jul 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Christa Seychew describes the friendly culinary competition among the cooks at the upcoming 'Taste Of Buffalo' with Patrick Taney and Ginger Geoffery.

TOP CHEFS WILL COMPETE IN COOKING CHALLENGES ON THE TASTE'S CULINARY STAGE

This weekend, the streets of Downtown Buffalo will be filled with people, tents, trailers, and the scent of good food, as nearly 450,000 enjoy the flavor of our region at the annual Taste of Buffalo presented by TOPS.

This year the Taste has added some new flair to this exciting annual event.

Throughout the weekend, the Culinary Stage (presented by Nickel City Chef, Artisan Kitchens & Baths, and Buffalo Spree magazine) will showcase exciting culinary competitions and demonstrations featuring top chefs from the WNY region. Located in the parking lot of New Era Cap, the stage will feature two evo outdoor flat top grills and custom cabinetry, as well as a tented seating area that accommodates 125 onlookers. Giveaways and food sampling accompany each scheduled event, providing an exciting and interactive audience experience.

The schedule, developed by Feed Your Soul (the producers of the hit Nickel City Chef series) includes several pro competitions such as a knife skills competition sponsored by CUTCO called "All Prepped Out," and a cook-off where two Buffalo sous chefs will have only 45 minutes to prepare two dishes featuring a secret ingredient. In each instance, the winner will be determined by a panel of judges which will include food professionals and restaurant critics from throughout the region. One lucky audience member will be chosen to act as a judge at each cooking competition.

Also included are two cooking demonstrations. The first takes place on Saturday afternoon and features Chef JJ Richert of Torches restaurant illustrating how simple it is to cook "French in a Flash". Richert won the 2009 Taste of Buffalo Chairman's Choice award, as well as the 2010 Taste of Buffalo award for Best Overall Food. His larger than life personality, along with his passion for tattoos, custom motorcycles and rock n' roll, make him one of Buffalo's most recognized chefs. On Sunday, Independent Health will present "Fresh and Healthy Cooking" with Chef Kate Elliott of Merge restaurant. Chef Elliott has a way with raw, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian cooking. She will demonstrate simple and tasty dishes that anyone can make at home.

On Sunday morning, Artisan Kitchens & Baths and Cambria will present "Flapjack Fun" sponsored by Smucker’s Snack n’ Waffles. It features Chef Marco Sciortino of Marco's restaurant and Tucker Curtin of Lake Effect Diner in a pancake challenge where a pre-selected panel of kids will determine which chefs flips the best flapjack. We welcome families to join us for this exciting and fun event!

Last but not least, for those of you who haven't yet made it to a Nickel City Chef competition, you can catch a mini version of one on both Saturday or Sunday, as the Nickel City Chefs challenge one another in unique and tasty culinary competitions. Chef JJ Richert of Torches and Chef Krista Van Wagner of Curly's will vie for the title in Battle: Taco on Saturday, and on Sunday, Nickel City Chef Adam Goetz of Sample will face off against former Nickel City challenger Mary Ann Giordano of the Creekview. Both chefs will try to win the judges' favor by preparing their best version of delicious snacks from aorund the world in Battle: Street Food.

The schedule, featuring times, participants, and judges is listed below, but can also be found online at: http://www.tasteofbuffalo.com/culinary-stage-2011

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Located in New Era Cap Front Parking Lot
Stop by, relax and enjoy a show under a nice cool tent. Experience side-by-side, one-of-a-kind cooking competitions and demonstrations. Before each show, our servers will bring you delicious samples of TOPS brand items, Cabot Creamery Cheese and Newman's Own Salsa. Get a seat early for the Independent Health's Fresh & Healthy cooking demo. Audience members will be selected at random to help judge the competitions and the audience will get pom poms to help root for their favorite chef!
*Culinary Schedule is subject to change.

Saturday, July 9, 2011
12PM - 1PM
Sous Chef Battle
Chef James Gehrke of Sample (Buffalo) and Chef Ryan McNeela of Creekview (Williamsville) will compete to complete the two best dishes in 45 minutes featuring a secret ingredient. This should be a fierce competition, as a restaurant's second in command is rarely given the opportunity to show their culinary ability in a public forum. Judges for this event include: Chef Mike Andrzejewski of the critically-acclaimed Sea Bar, Alan Bedenko, food critic for Buffalo Spree magazine, Musician and foodie Nelson Starr, and one lucky audience member.
2PM - 3PM Nickel City Chef presents Battle: Taco
There are a thousand ways to make a taco, but which one is best? Nickel City Chef Krista Van Wagner of Curly's (Lackawanna) will compete against Nickel City Chef JJ Richert of Torches (Kenmore) to win the hearts of our panel of judges with their best interpretation of the humble taco. Judges for this event include: Andrew Galarneau, food writer for The Buffalo News, chef and cookbook author (Mexican Flavors, 2010) Laura Anhalt, food blogger Don Burtless of BuffaloEats.org and one lucky audience member.
4PM - 5PM JJ Richert, Buffalo's Hottest Chef presents French in a Flash
JJ Richert, owner and chef of the four-star Torches restaurant, won the 2009 Taste of Buffalo Chairman's Choice award, as well as the 2010 Taste of Buffalo award for Best Overall Food. His larger than life personality, along with his passion for tattoos, custom motorcycles and rock n' roll, make him one of Buffalo's most recognized and beloved chefs. Chef Richert will demonstrate how to prepare a full evening of delicious and very simple French classics, allowing homecooks to take advantage of local, seasonal produce when preparing a meal for family and friends.
6PM - 7PM
Blue Light Lime Culinary Challenge presented by TOPS Markets
Four finalists compete to become the Labatt Light Lime recipe victor. Celebrity judges taste each contestant's dish made with Labatt Light Lime and will select the grand winner.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

11AM - 11:30AM Flapjack Fun
A panel of kid judges pick the perfect pancake. Kids, come watch Marco Sciortino of Marco's and Tucker Curtin of Lake Effect Diner flip their favorite flapjacks in hopes of being crowned the Prince of Pancakes.
12PM - 1PM All Prepped Out! — sponsored by CUTCO
Featuring Brett Brennan of Sea Bar, Ken Foland of Merge, and Hanna Youngling of Toro!
Chef Brett Brennan of Sea Bar (Buffalo), Chef Ken Foland of Merge, and Chef Hanna Youngling of Toro (Buffalo) are vying for a trophy and bragging rights with this exciting competition. Speed, dexterity, and skill are required as these chefs race through a series of timed heats based on basic kitchen skills (i.e. chopping onions, separating eggs, julienning carrots, breaking down chickens). In this competition, precision and technique are as important as finishing first. Judges for this event include: Chef Mark Mistriner and Chef John Matwijkow of Niagara Culinary Institute, and Chef John Santora of Alfred State College.
2PM - 3PM Nickel City Chef presents Battle: Street Food
Street food is all the rage, and in this exposition, Nickel City Chef Adam Goetz of Sample (Buffalo) will compete against Nickel City Challenger Mary Ann Giordano of Creekview Restaurant (Williamsville) to win the hearts of our panel of judges with their best savory street food item. Judges include: Pete Cimino and Chef Chris Dorsaneo, founders of Buffalo's first food truck, Lloyd, well-respected local chef, James Roberts of Park Country Club, and one lucky audience member.
4PM - 5PM Fresh and Healthy Cooking with Chef Kate Elliott of Merge Restaurant presented by Independent Health
Learn techniques for preparing healthy meals for your family with Merge's own Chef Kate Elliott. Whether you are looking to learn about vegan, vegetarian, or raw cooking, Chef Elliott has the answers when it comes to preparing delicious and nutritious fare. Get your seat early for the Independent Health T-shirt toss.