Around 3,000 people attended US Foods Culinary Event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, October 10th, where dining trends, sample dishes and more than 2,000 products, were demonstrated.
Bill Beedie, division president of US Foods Los Angeles, said, "We invited some of the top chefs from Los Angeles-area restaurants to showcase their culinary expertise and share upcoming trends in dining and food products.
The event took off with a Dutch Auction, hosted by Todd Main from "Storage Wars".
Immediately after, the First Annual Foods "Boiling Point Cook-off" took place, where six local chefs competed in two rounds of 30-minute cook-offs featuring a mystery ingredient. Food Network's "Meat and Potatoes" host, Chef Rahm Fama, hosted this event. Judges included Food Network Star finalists Vic Vegas (Season 7) and Malcolm Mitchell (Season 8), and Top Chef finalist Dakota Weiss (Season 9),
"Boiling Point Cook-off" competitors were local chefs Steven Smeets, Apple Farm Restaurant (San Luis Obispo), Dan Cincis, El Caballero Country Club (Tarzana), Brad Wise, The Padre Hotel (Bakersfield), Casey Walcott, SeaVenture Hotel (Pismo Beach), Michael Goodloe, Atrium Hotel (Irvine), and Matthew Zubrod, Malibu and Vine (Malibu)
We, at LAFamily.com, got a chance to talk to host Chef Rahm after the first round of the competition. Here's what he had to say:
How's the competition going so far?
It's great. It's our first year but it's been a lot of fun. It's come together well.
What made you agree to host the competition?
I seem to have that kind of personality, of getting everybody going. I wanted as much action involved as possible, but I didn't want to be there myself. I love competition but I'm not good under pressure. (laughs)
What was the first ingredient in today's competition?
Mahi Mahi, Chef's Line™ Chickpea and Black Sesame Chips and a magical ingredient, which I've never cooked with before which is called Bitter Root or Bitter Melon. It's a very exotic Japanese, cucumber-looking food it. Very bitter, if you don't cook it right. The chefs had a very difficult time. They'd never seen it before.
How do you take on that challenge, when you don't know the ingredient, and have never cooked with it before?
There are certain basics of food that you can work with. You know that cucumbers have a lot of water, so they're probably not good for grilling. So just by looking at the vegetable you're able to draw references and get an idea of what you can and cannot do with it. But that's the whole challenge -- you don't know, and you just have to work with it, and hopefully, you come up with something great.
Which of the competitors are your favorites so far?
There are a lot of competitors to begin with and there are no favorites. They're all individually picked because of their style of food, their passion for food, and their all-around culinary backgrounds and traditions.
Do you enjoy watching the chef competition shows (on the Food Network)?
I do! When I was a young chef those shows weren't around. There was Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, and cooking was fun, but not as cool. This gives the cool element and gives the chef the challenge, not just against the competitor but mainly against themselves. Even though the shows are very demanding and stressful, us chefs love to completely challenge ourselves on a daily basis. That's what this competition is about, the challenge of it, in a fun way!
Can you tell us what are your plans, personally, for the future?
I have multiple cookbooks coming out. I'm also doing a show called The Best Thing I Ever Ate, but mainly this kind of stuff, going out and finding great chefs and great products.
Chef Rahm, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
Chef Steven Smeets of Apple Farm Restaurant was the winner of this year's "Boiling Point Cook-off". The winning dish included seared boar, baby beats bacon, shitake mushrooms and a boar sauce.
"This event previews the flavors and dishes that will appear on restaurants menus across the country in the next few months", added Beedie.
The next US Foods Culinary event is expected to take place on the second half of 2013.
October 19th, 2012