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Home Eat & Drink EnjoySLO Chef Showdown Recap!

EnjoySLO Chef Showdown Recap!

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On Sunday, February 23rd we had the first EnjoySLO Chef Competition. For those who missed it here’s a recap of the events.

Round 1 occurred in the morning between all four chefs:

Libry Darusma, Will Torres, James King, & Julien Asseo (Hugo Martinez)

Each chef was given 45 minutes to cook 3 plates of the same dish for 3 judges. All chefs knew the main ingredient and had time to prep beforehand so they could create THE BEST dish they could to proceed to the final round.

Demonstration rounds were held for the public and the chefs recreated the same dishes they made for the judges. They were also required to create at least 200 bites of food for the People’s Choice Award.

Hugo Martinez

We had 3 judges for the event: Stanley Barrios of Top Winery, Stew McLennan of The Garagiste Show & Sharpei Moon Wines, and Chef Rachel Ponce of Paired With events. Judgment for round 1 was based on the standards of the American Culinary Federation. The chefs were also given the judging criteria beforehand.

Zuridia Garcia
  • Serving Methods and Presentation
    Fresh and colorful, easy to eat, stylistic but practically plated
  • Portion Size and Nutritional Balance
    Balance of protein, carbohydrates and associated ingredients. Is the dish the appropriate size for intended use – appetizer, main dish, dessert?
  • Creativity and Ingredient Compatibility
    Do the ingredients complement each other in color, flavor, and texture? Was it thoughtfully put together?
  • Flavor, Taste, Texture and Doneness
    Do the major ingredients carry dominant flavors?
    Do the components fit together? Are the temperatures correct?
    Do the textures reflect the cooking technique? Is there consistency?

Round one was fierce, with only a 10 point spread between all four chefs. The top chef of Round 1 was Libry Darusman followed by Julien Asseo. The People’s Choice award was Julien Asseo.

Hugo Martinez

Both went into the final showdown where they had to compete in front of a live audience with a mystery basket of ingredients. The chefs were only allowed to bring their own cookware, no machinery allowed. They were also given a basic pantry of ingredients. The point of this was to test their skills in the kitchen through the eyes of a home cook.

The Mystery Box consisted of:

Zuridia Garcia
  • Ginger
  • Apple
  • Spam
  • Wine Shine Brandy
  • Beef Liver
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos

In the end, there was only a 5 point difference and Julien Asseo took home a $1000 cash prize!!

Hugo Martinez

We are so thankful to everyone who came out to the chef competition this year! It could not have been a success without everyone’s support.

Zuridia Garcia

Special thanks to Inspired Expo for having us. They made some really fun changes this year! First of all, they brought on Alma Collective, a local makers market, so we had wonderful artisans and craftsmen showcasing their work at the event. They also provided $1000 to the winning chef!

Zuridia Garcia


Plus we got to work with the most AMAZING sponsors! This year Larder Meat Co went above and beyond! They allowed the chefs to pick from over a dozen cuts of meat to create over 800 bites of food! The Groves on 41 donated their locally made olive oil in a variety of flavors. Talley Farms Fresh Harvest donated a variety of local and organic produce. WineShine provided the brandy for the mystery boxes. Cutco kindly donated three chefs knives to make sure every chef got a new blade to go home with.

To learn more about the event CLICK HERE. To see more of the event, check out some of our favorite pictures below! Thank you to our two photographers Zurida Garcia & Hugo Martinez! Make sure you give them a follow on social media @zuridia_g & @hm_imagery

Zuridia Garcia Photography

Hugo Martinez Photography

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