Foobooz Open Stove XVIII: Hands Up, Knives Down

So last week, before all the madness of the Thanksgiving holiday (and all its attendant drinking and regrets), we threw a little party of our own. It was just us, twenty or so of our nearest and dearest, and two of the best sous chefs in the city who’d come together for one night only at COOK to battle it out for Thanksgiving supremacy.

Our competitors were Chuck Formoso who possesses a formidable Ron Swanson mustache and will soon be behind the stoves at the forthcoming Petruce et al and Keith Krajewski, who was once kicked out of the CIA (the cooking one, not the other one) but didn’t let that stop him from becoming sous chef at Marigold Kitchen. Despite us saddling them with all manner of questionable Turkey Day staples (like bagged stuffing, fried onions and canned cranberry sauce), and, at one point, making the chefs stop cooking entirely so that their assistants had to finish dishes in their stead, both teams came up with some spectacular plates. Granted, a liberal application of pumpkin vodka and mystery beers to the crowd might’ve helped a little, but if you click through the jump and check out some of what we got to eat last week, I think you’ll agree that both sides handled themselves with skill and brought honor to their houses.

Of course, at the end, only one man could claim victory…

That’s Keith. I’m not gonna tell you why he got booted from the CIA, but things are working out pretty well for him regardless.

Chuck can win Ron Swanson look-alike contests just by walking into the room. Also, the man seriously knows how to cook.

Just one of our many secret ingredients for the night.

Just another of our many secret ingredients for the night.

This is what the crowd was drinking when things got a little slow. The chefs (and the host) stuck to tequila, bourbon and High Life.

With the understanding that, one day, these competitors were going to be chefs in their own right, once we told them they couldn’t cook any more, they were able to only give directions to their assistants. Some people took this better than others.

And after nearly three hours (and eight courses) of intense competition, the winner was…Keith from Marigold Kitchen. Honor, glory and bragging rights were his at the end of the night–and a possible slot on one of our Open Stove Masters teams in the future.

And while I’d love to tell you that you all that you should run out right now and sign up for the next Foobooz Open Stove night at COOK, that one is already sold out. But start making plans now for January and, in the meantime, go visit Keith at Marigold and Chuck at Petruce et al (when it opens).

All Open Stove Coverage [f8b8z]