Last night I judged my first food event – DineLA’s Quickfire Challenge featuring Chef Eric Greenspan (The Foundry) and Chef Akasha Richmond (Akasha). The two chefs were to make tacos featuring a “secret ingredient” presented by Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill, which hosted the event.
I honestly had no idea what to expect… and I was blown away. The secret ingredient turned out to be poblano peppers, which got literally no reaction from the chefs. They just grabbed it and continued working. Eric made a gordita with a Dr. Pepper glazed pork belly, horchata sauce, and pickled cabbage. He drizzled a bright green poblano puree on top. Akasha’s dish was an Indian take on a taco. She topped fenugreek tortillas with shredded chicken tikka, raita coleslaw, homemade mango chutney, pomegranate seeds and diced poblanos. Here surprise ingredient – schmaltz. Wow.
Both were incredible but Eric’s dish won out. I think it was something to do with the amount of fat – in the gordita and in the pork belly. Jimmy Shaw, also a judge, loved the horchata sauce. Me? I loved the subtle yet very present Dr. Pepper.
Eric will now compete against Mark Peel, Octavio Becera, and Akira Hirose in the finals on Tuesday at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at LA Live. Sherry Yard of Spago will be judging a dessert quickfire challenge. When asked about his chances in the finals, given the fact that he’s not a pastry chef. He simply replied, “I’m f**ked.”