About Last Night: Southern Boys Gone North

So we went and did it again. Because if it was fun the first time, then it just has to be fun the thirty-first time, right?

When it comes to Open Stove night, absolutely. And this time we had the sous chefs from two decidedly Southern restaurants, Percy Street and Rex 1516, come together for a battle that depended on their knowledge of distinctly Northeastern ingredients (plus some kitchen trivia, and their ability to hold their liquor). The results were, as usual, surprisingly good for the number of challenges we threw up before them, and on occasion amazing.

In case you couldn’t make the scene at COOK to see Percy Street’s Marc Campana go up against Evan Kelly of Rex 1516 (which, considering the limited number of seats and the speed at which they sell out, probably covers most of you), we were there with our camera to capture the best of the night’s action. So check out the snaps after the jump.

Our competitors for the evening, who had no idea what they were in for when they signed up for this.

Evan and Team Rex looking nervous about something…

That something being my punk ass, revealing the first of the night’s secret ingredients–all of which would have to be used, all of which come from the Northeastern canon of culinary supplies. In this photo, it’s scallops still in the shell. In other reveals there were baked beans, cranberries, marshmallow fluff… You know, the kinds of things any Southern cook would have in their pantry.

See? Cranberries.

There’s those scallops again.

Some sea critters on display–which came with a helpful tutorial on how to suck the meat out of those crawfish.

Trust me, both sides just LOVED having to deal with the scallops in front of a hungry crowd.

Something that isn’t being shown here? The fact that, halfway through cooking their main courses, both chefs were pulled off the line to participate in a pop-quiz. It was a test given to first-year culinary school students at Drexel struggling through prep and pantry class, and the chefs had to complete it (with extra points given for every right answer) before they were allowed to rejoin their sous chefs who had spent the intervening time trying to cook without them while the minutes ticked away on the clock. Because showing that would be boring (just me, grinning, standing between two chefs who both look like they want to murder me), I’m just dropping some food shots in here instead.

First of the desserts? Mini-pie.

Followed by something that was not at all like pie.

And in the end, one chef came out on top. This time it was Marc from Percy Street who went home with bragging rights, edging out Team Rex in a close battle, ultimately decided by Marc’s surprising familiarity with mother sauces during the pop-quiz portion of our night’s festivities.

So congrats to both teams, but extra-special congrats to Team Percy Street on the win. And we’ll be back to do it all again with Open Stove 32 in January.

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