WestSide Throwdown Draws Big Names, Small Crowd

Categories: Events

Host Beau MacMillan was in fine spirits -- or shall we say, in the fine spirits -- last night at the inaugural WestSide Throwdown culinary challenge at Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria. The event was bizarre. Attendance was spotty, and everyone (even the host) seemed to have tapped into the free margaritas and tequila a little too much.

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​"If you have a party and there's Harleys, there's margaritas, there's chicken wings... you know good things are going to happen. Or illegal things," quipped host Beau MacMillan, Iron Chef winner and co-star of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America. MacMillan even made several references to hot girls and breasts during the show ("If you don't like Double D's, I don't know what's wrong with you," he joked after spotting the D'Licious Dishes "I heart DD's" t-shirts). 

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Hungry for Double D's?
​Not that we here at New Times have anything against a good T&A reference, but it's unusual to hear one at a cooking competition. Then again, this was no ordinary culinary event...

There were motorcycles, tattooed chefs, a beer truck and a hot blonde co-host in jeans ripped up to there. The chefs were even whipping up pub food in a Battle of the Chicken Wings. 

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​Things were a little rocky at the Showdown. While the event technically started at 4:30 p.m., the chefs didn't take the stage until after 5:30. One judge missed the first round. There were no chairs at the outdoor kitchen, so guests had to sit on the ground or stand while watching the cook-off. And guests were given food tickets we never needed. There are always some kinks to be worked out in an event's first year, though.

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C-CAP Arizona Director Jill Smith's student shows off her coconut-crusted pork.

​The upside was that with such a small crowd, you could see the stage from any angle. No pushing or shoving, no annoying dude with the ball cap blocking your view. It was also super-easy to snag food. Culinary students from the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) came around with samples of coconut-crusted pork and wings that were pretty tasty. There was also a buffet featuring corned beef, salad, sides and some of the cook-off entries -- with little to no line.

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