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OC Chefs Battle for the Title at the OC Fair

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One of my favorite events at the OC Fair is the weekly chef challenge series, and it was an extreme honor to be selected for the second year to be one of the judges. During the weekly challenge, two local chefs go head-to-head using their culinary skills to create the best recipe with ingredients based on different elements in just thirty minutes.

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This year, I judged the competition between Chef David Pratt from Brick, and Chef Karl Pfleider from The Blind Pig Kitchen & Bar. The two talented chefs were given ingredients based on the element of air, and two volunteer sous chefs from the audience to assist them in creating their dish to be served styled like an airplane meal.

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I got to judge the competition along with Christian Ziebarth (Naugles), Daniele Holmberg (Dani’s Decadent Deals) and Nancy Luna (The OC Register). Together we helped to judge the two meals based on appearance, flavor and creativity.

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Even though the chefs were under pressure to create their dishes in less than thirty minutes, they both still took their time to teach their sous chefs patiently how to prepare the food. With both of the volunteer sous chefs having no professional training, they performed in the competition just like they were master chefs.

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The competition was not lacking excitement as Chef Pfleider cut his finger, and yet continued to compete “blindly” with just one hand. He didn’t let the cut slow him down as he cooked with one hand while first aid was treating his injury. Chef Pfleider’s adrenaline was racing as he continued to check the time on the clock before plating his dish for the judges to taste.

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As we were presented the two meals, Chef Pratt’s meal was the clear winner for presentation, but it was Chef Pfleider meal that ended up being the overall winner of the competition. While there could only be one first place winner of the competition, the chefs displayed incredible talent, and both were winners in my eyes.

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Don’t miss the final chef competition at the OC Fair on August 13th as Chef Andre Sickinger from Outpost Kitchen, and Chef Niki Starr from Mesa compete with the element of fire. The event will begin at 5 pm on August 13th in the OC Promenade at the OC Fair. Admission to the chef challenge series is included with admission tickets to the OC Fair.

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