Last Thursday, the 2011 Top Chef tour came to Red Bank, NJ’s Marine Park featuring Chef Jen Carroll of 10 Arts by Eric Ripert and Chef Kevin Sbraga, winner of Top Chef Season 7. The event featured activitites such as Buitoni pasta sampling, Castello cheese sampling, an interactive smell/aroma test, and a meet and greet with both chefs.
jen’s brined chicken breast
The main draw of course was the quickfire competitions. There were four total and I was lucky enough to be able to judge the first two. The main ingredient for the quickfire challenges was chicken, voted by Red Bank locals on the Top Chef tour Facebook page. The chefs could use any part of the chicken they wanted and were allowed to bring one secret ingredient. Kevin decided to go through the competitions without a secret ingredient while Jen brought a homemade vinegar. Jen made a brined chicken breast while Kevin made a curried chicken thigh. Both chefs made delicious dishes and it was tough to choose a winner. Guests were also able to try both dishes thanks to students from French Culinary working in the back!
kevin’s curried chicken thigh
The set up of the competition was pretty awesome. Two cooking stations were placed on a platform in the center, with the judges’ table in the middle and rows of seats placed on both sides of the platform. Joining me at the judges table for the first quickfire competition was Chef Ariane Duarte, the “cougar in the kitchen” from Top Chef Season 5 and the chef/owner of CulinAriane in Montclair, NJ. For the second quickfire, Chef Nicholas Harary of Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ, joined me at the judges’ table. The first quickfire went to Kevin and the second went to Jen.
introducing the cougar in the kitchen
Huge thanks to Fred Haug of BravoTV and Amy Cao of Foodspotting for the awesome opportunity to judge the first two competitions!