Restaurant Critic / Food Critic
3rd Annual Food Fight

Peoria Civic Center
Peoria IL.
          Food Fight 2016 is sponsored by Neighborhood House, a charity whose mission is to fight hunger. According to Becky Rossman, the President/CEO of Neighborhood House, “the easiest way to describe the 30+ programs in one sentence, although probably not politically correct, is that we serve cradle to grave and pets”. Proceeds from the night’s events go to help Neighborhood House in their efforts to combat hunger.
          Food fight is a competition of local chefs who are given a blind bag of ingredients and have to come up with a dish from what is provided. It is loosely based on the Food network show Chopped. In addition to the competition the Chefs all prepared a little something for the guests to sample. This is the part of the evening of which I am most fond. Yes it is true, I was as happy as a fat guy at a food orgy can be. Oh where to begin.
          Congratulations to Chef Amanda Pyle from ICC Culinary School The 2016 Food Fight Champion! She also prepared for public consumption some delicioso Chipotle Chicken Roasted Pepper Quesadillas.
          I will now give the Big Food Jerk Food Fight 2016 Award and that goes to Chef Tommy Schafer of The Publik House and his KILLER Pecan Smoked Burger of Pork Belly Confit with Daisy Cutter whole grain mustard, onion marmalade and arugula served on a pretzel roll. Outfreakinstanding!
          There was so much good food to be had and I am must confess that I did lose myself a bit in what is very exciting for me. I tried my best to keep organized as to who prepared what from where, but after various cocktails and edible delights I was in a state of goodie treat euphoria.
          Chef Trent Pavlik from Seasons Gastro Pub rocked out some delicious Bacon Tots with a duck fat aioli. Chef Trent can be seen on an episode of the popular TV show Guy’s Grocery Games.
          I thought one of the more overlooked offerings, based on my not seeing his table getting a lot of action, was Chef Adam Fife from Biaggi’s and his perfectly executed bacon wrapped dates in I believe a maple balsamic vinaigrette. I swear, if those of you who had the opportunity to try those and didn’t, shame on you.
          There was a variety of ethnically inspired foods as well such as Chef Golda Ewalt from OSF St. Francis Medical Center. Who can still say hospital food is bad? You may want to fake a sickness just to get a chance to eat the Moroccan Spiced Carrots & Chickpeas with Chermoula Shrimp and Toasted Almonds.
          Chef Seth Colvin from Par A Dice took a gamble (I know corny) with his take on some deliciously deviled eggs. BLT and Smoked Salmon. I loved the BLT Eggs. Equally impressive was the eggs presentation. You never see your Aunt Mildred’s eggs looking like that at family gatherings.
          I am now applauding Chef Jeff Madden from Kemp 208 and his Seared Ahi Tuna with Asian Coleslaw and Sea Salt. For those of you ardent carnivore males, if you would just get you a mouthful of that you would be an instant convert.
          I absolutely love Lobster Bisque and Chef Andrea Wildey from Creve Coeur Club made me grab an application to join, just to get another chance to eat that golden nectar one more time.
          What an absolute flavor punch in the face with the…. I want to say American, Indian and Mexican Brisket Taco fusion from Chef Aaron Flores from Table 19 in the Marriott Pere Marquette Hotel. The brisket was so tender and had so much depth of flavor. Power Punch Aaron!
          Thanks to Chef Leo Carney from Savor for perfect mini hot sandwiches dripping gooey cheese.  Great kraut on the Reuben and I absolutely love the Cheese Steaks. That is the perfect…. I had 4 or 5 beers now gimme 4 or 5 mini sandwiches.
          A little French and a little Asian its Vietnamese. It is a perfect bowl of lemony, gingery soup moistened by the beef and fish broth. Forget the chopsticks I was just drinking it. Applause to Chef Jeff Duval of Eurest Dining.
          Bringing the sweets were Josh Sumner of Country Club of Peoria and his take on Smores. Ian and Mrs. Hocker from the Chef and the Baker with their amazing cupcake ensemble and Dustin Allen of Edge with his terrific Cheese Cake Bar.
          A special mention to the mystery Chef and staff that prepared the main course both the entrée and the dessert. I was full before dinner was served but once I saw it I couldn’t resist. I just opened the belt a notch and got to work. Great job with the steak, tender and juicy and that is no easy feat when cooking 600+. A big thanks from me to you.

According to the Big Food Jerk

What can I say other than I applaud everyone for their efforts for putting on a great food show and helping out a worthwhile cause. Outfrickinstanding!