Thanks to a Facebook post by Inland SoCal Dining, I came across a really cool concept by Chris Kern called the Sunday Night Chef Fights. This event occurs between Riverside, Orange and San Diego Counties and involves two local working chefs in each specific area. I missed out on the opportunity to pick up two tickets for the Riverside brawl so I decided I would purchase two tickets for the Orange County showdown that happened on February 20th between Chef Knoke of SteerCrazy Rock n’ Roll Kitchen in San Juan Capistrano and Chef Smith-Rosales of the Nirvana Grille in Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo.
Prior to each fight the chefs get together with Chris to randomly draw an ingredient each from three specific categories; protein, vegetable and grain. In addition to these picks, a few days prior to the event itself a mystery item is chosen and the chefs will then have to work that ingredient into the mix. The participants don’t find out what that ingredient is until the start of the show. In the past the mystery ingredient has been honey, rum, caramel, kosher dill pickles, peanut butter, yellow mustard, and grape jelly.
One of the ingredients selected for the chef fight Jen and I attended was eggs. I was really excited to see that Chef Knoke didn’t go with a traditional chicken egg but instead used a quail egg in a Hawaiian cucumber and radish salad. The quail egg had a hint of ginger taste while the cucumbers, onions and radish was soaked in a rice wine vinegar. I was really happy with this dish the most between the two salads.
Over all the event was a huge success and Jen and I had a really awesome experience. In addition to the five course meal we were also treated to three mystery wines that Chris introduced us to over the course of the event. Needless to say, Jen and I walked back to our hotel to walk off a little of the food and a lot of the wine.
Interested in knowing more about the other dishes? Take a look at The Lowdown written by Chris on the SNCF page. Here are some additional photos and a video where the winner was announced and the challenging chef for the next event in Orange County is introduced.