Last night, Jamie Wolf of Alma de Cuba and Carmen Cappello from the Moshulu faced off in our own tiny little Kitchen Stadium (otherwise known as the kitchen at COOK). They brought their sous chefs. They brought their knives and their ingredients. They thought they knew what was going to happen when we started the clock.
They had no idea.
We started off the night the way one should always start off a night–with mystery beers in brown paper bags for the crowd…
…and a simple challenge for the chefs. 4 courses each, 2 hours, 1 winner, no mercy.
Team Moshulu started the night off with oyster shooters, michelada-style.
Team Alma de Cuba went a little fancier with a scallop ceviche in leche de tigre, garnished with local flowers.
When we revealed the first secret ingredient–star fruit–no one seemed too worried.
And then when we offered them a whole spread of extra ingredients (worth extra points for every one they used), I think they found us downright charming
Both teams knocked out some octopus for the apps course.
An awesome escabeche with quick-pickled star fruit for team Alma.
A different kind of escabeche for team Moshulu. And both sides were just tearing through the extra ingredients–adding beer and more beer and sour cherries and olives and gummy bears to everything. The chefs were relaxing into the rhythm of the night and didn’t even seem too freaked out when the lovely Michelle brought out the second secret ingredient…
…Bacos. Did you know that Bacos have no bacon in them? That’s nuts. They’re nothing but mystery goop and chemicals. Still tasty, though.
The teams got down to work. The deal was, 35 minutes to do 20 plates, not one second more. Anyone who didn’t make it would be mocked roundly by all and sundry.
Carmen took the challenge very seriously. He actually wasn’t nearly as yell-y as he looks in this picture. And his sous, Danny, had ice in his veins. Or was completely terrified. Hard to tell which.
But when he showed us the Bacos-crusted tuna he had working, it didn’t much matter.
Meanwhile, Jamie was working up a paella with grilled shrimp. At this point, about five minutes had passed.
At the eight minute mark, there were shots.
And this is what it looked like when, at the ten minute mark, we told the chefs that they were no longer allowed to cook–only plan, plate and offer constructive advice. They’d essentially been promoted to Exec Chef status and were only allowed to expedite while their sous chefs did all the work. The look on sous chef Kate’s face sums up the moment pretty well. If only you could hear all the screaming and shouting from the outraged crowd–which is why I’m hiding behind the two ladies, of course.
Even still, Carmen’s sous Danny finished the Bacos-crusted tuna (which really ought to be a fixture on the Moshulu menu from now on).
And Kate, Jamie’s sous, finished off the paella with almost five minutes to spare.
And this is what it looks like when you win Open Stove, folks. Jamie and Kate took the glory in a close win and now get all the bragging rights that come with being Open Stove champions.
All Open Stove coverage [Foobooz]