Taco Competition – Greenspan v. Richmond

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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.

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Friendly Competition
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The Chefs at Work

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.

Akahsa's Indian-inspired Taco
Akahsa's Indian-inspired Taco
Eric Greenspan's Gordita
Eric Greenspan's Gordita

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.”