Once again, last night brought to Philadelphia the glory, the pageantry and the weirdness that is the Foobooz Open Stove Night. At COOK, we gathered together our two teams of noble competitors–Kenny “Admiral Snackbar” Bush from Bistrot La Minette and Henrik “The Swedish Hammer” Ringbom from Brauhaus Schmitz–for a European showdown which pitted a Swedish-born chef cooking German food in an American city against an American-born chef working at a French restaurant who (for reasons of his own) decided to use last night as a chance to cook the Spanish food he loves so well.
Two chefs, two sous chefs, 8 courses and WAY too many drinks–that’s how these things work. And in case you missed the fun last night, don’t worry. We had COOK’s photo ninja Yoni Nimroad taking pictures for us: Preserving the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and evidence of all the good grub consumed. So click through the jump to take a look at all the fun we had.
The chefs and their sous chefs. That’s Team Hammer on the left and Team Snackbar on the right.
Amuse courses went out without a hitch. This was Team Snackbar’s shooter of corn soup with spicy chorizo sausage.
Secret ingredient for the first course? Brook trout, which had to be cleaned and broken down on the spot–a task which both chefs took to with great vigor and no fear. No one used the heads, though, which secretly disappointed some of the more extreme members of the audience.
Team Hammer did a simple sear on the fish and mounted it over a bed of fresh, sweet corn. One of the amazing things you can’t see here? We hit them with a second secret ingredient just ten minutes before they were due to plate: Bottles of French’s mustard (French’s mustard because one of the restaurants represented was French, get it?). Neither chef panicked. Both just got don to work. Team Hammer used their mustard in the warm corn salad which lent it a very cool, very delicious edge.
Team Snackbar’s offering went again in a Spanish direction with yellow plum tomatoes, mustard-dressed greens and filet of brook trout.
The Swedish Hammer working the room.
Secret ingredient #2: Elk. And just to make things more complicated, it came in what was called a “cheesesteak cut”–basically shredded like cheesesteak meat. And of course, neither competitor brought rolls…
And then, just when they were getting comfortable with their elk, we threw the two teams another curve ball. Like the mustard that went with the fish, we gave them a secondary secret ingredient that had to be used along with their meat. In this case, salted caramels. And the two teams came up with…
Yup. Elk with salted caramel sauce. And it was delicious.
And on this side, elk stew, thickened with salted caramel, and topped with a roasted jerusalem artichoke.
Dessert courses came next. Admiral Snackbar went over the top with some kind of chocolate, chocolate, marshmallow and chocolate concoction that I can hardly even describe except that it was kinda like a Tastykake and kinda like one of those marshmallow pinwheel things my mom never used to let me eat when I was a kid.
And on The Hammer’s side? Cake. You can never go wrong with cake.
When all was said and done, it was time to vote. And this time around, the people went solidly for the Swedish-German Team Hammer. There were hugs exchanged, maybe a few tears, and then everyone just got back to drinking and eating all the leftovers–which is how any good Open Stove Night is supposed to end.