Whole Foods Ultimate Food Fight, Round 2: Stuffed
Thursday night, Whole Foods Scottsdale looked like a mini set from a Food Network challenge as five regional WF chefs, including hometown favorite (with his own cheering section) Nathan Hirsch, calmly competed in Round Two of the market's Ultimate Food Fight. The competition pantry was stocked with fresh local produce, select wines, premium meats and specialty condiments the WF markets are known for.
The challenge: Create a unique holiday stuffing using a stuffing base (bread, mirepoix, seasoning, stock) from the prepared food department, the pantry, and three secret ingredients chosen by the judges. The fun for me, as one of the judges, began with a race around the store with fellow judges Pavle Milic (fnb) and Brady Breese (Urban Cookies and Cupcake Wars winner) to select the secret ingredients.
The secret ingredients and what the chefs created after the jump.
|food fight pantry|
The chefs, Barbara Wilder Pearlman (San Fernando Valley), Nathan Hirsch (Arizona), Dennis Horton (OC and San Diego), Rachel Safran (Las Vegas) and Derek Harrison (Los Angeles) had 45 minutes to prepare their dishes while they were peppered with questions. The audience of friends, family and WF fans snacked on samples from the prepared food department and cheered the chefs at work kitchen stadium style.
|prickly pear poached squid|
|lamb stuffed squid with sweet potato risotto|
Chef Hirsch's calamari was treated with a ground lamb stuffing, sautéed in fennel, onions and dried cherries and served on a bed of sweet potato risotto.
|winning dish- croquette|
|sausage fennel onion stuffing|
|bacon wrapped sausage and squid stuffing|
The chefs move on to three more cities to compete and inspire creative holiday dishes. At the end of the five rounds, the overall winner of the competition, based on accumulated points from each round, will be announced and their recipes published by WF. The competition was an invitation to stretch with unexpected ingredients and go wild with that package of stuffing.
I left stuffed.