This past Sunday I had the honor of being a judge for the Chefs For Farmers‘ sold-out Mix-Off/Yes Chef! event at Design District’s event space, DEC on Dragon. What did that entail, you ask? Well, I got a wear a big ol’ fancy sash that read, “CFF JUDGE” as I walked from table to table, sampling food bites and cocktails from some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.
Small Brewpub, FT33, The Joule, The Grape Restaurant, Patina Green Home and Market, Independent Bar & Kitchen, Uchi Dallas, and The Blind Butcher all had sous chefs in attendance to battle it out for best food. As for the cocktails, bartenders from Top Knot, Armoury, D.E., Parliament, The Theodore, Filament, Henry’s Majestic, Midnight Rambler, and Rapscallion came armed and ready with tins, spirits, syrups, and garnishes to wow the crowds and the judges … even this one who got caught picking pepper out of her teeth by an event photographer. Why am I so awkward?
My life sounds hard sometimes … I know. Especially when I showed up at 5PM really hungry. I think I sampled offerings from half of the the competing chefs before the event’s moderator, Jimmy Contreras, came up to me smiling and said, “You know you have to try all of the dishes at the Judges’ Table upstairs at 6pm, right?” *Blink blink* “Well, I do now!”
Luckily, I made sure to attend the event in a flowy dress that allowed for over-consumption. With my newly gained knowledge I set aside my dishes in-hand and went to the rooftop to focus on more important things–the cocktails. The temperature was in the high 80s, so I was really looking forward to some icy concoctions featuring sponsored spirits, Patrón and Makers 46. I managed to sample half of the cocktails before being sitting down for the official judging portion of the event. (This is one situation where “slow and steady wins the race” isn’t a thing.)
(At this point, I am thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have had so many samples before sitting down. Oops.) When all of the samples of food and cocktails were assembled on the table in front of me, it all looked a bit daunting, but obviously I kept my cool.
I attacked the cocktails first as it was a hot day and all iced drinks were diluting at a rapid pace, and any drinks that did not feature ice was warming up just as quickly. You know my priority: SALVAGE THE DRINKS. Once I marked down my cocktail vote, I forged onward with the food bites and hoped that none of the many photographers crowded around the table would catch an unsavory photo of my chipmunk cheeks stuffed with food.
Winners were announced at the end of the event. (You didn’t think I was going to say who I voted for, did you?)
- Returning champion, Brian Bell from The Blind Butcher, took People’s Choice Sous Chef again with his sausage and bone marrow BBQ dish
- Sarah Green from the Joule took home Judge’s Choice for her Frito Hand Pie
- Ryan Frederick from Henry’s Majestic won for Best Makers 46 cocktail
- Jesse Powell from Parliament won both Best Patrón cocktail and overall People’s Choice Bartender
All winners’ dishes and cocktails will be featured at the three-day Chefs For Farmers 2016 festival, September 23-25. Tickets for the main event go on sale soon. Check the CFF Facebook page or website for more information as it is released.
Chefs For Farmers 2016