The most recent Nickel City Chef competition resulted in another win for Nickel City Chef JJ Richert of Torches, who after two seasons and three battles remains undefeated. His challenger was perhaps the most under-rated chef in all of Buffalo, Chef Dino DeBell. DeBell is currently helping Mike Shatzel of Cole’s hone a new menu for his soon-to-open Elmwood venture, Blue Monk.
Nickel City Chef X was an intense competition, and Richert claims it was the toughest one yet. the secret ingredient, three types of wine from Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, made what could be viewed as a simple challenge, a tricky one. Each chef had to ask themselves, do you use the wine in traditional wine-friendly cooking applications heralded for their amazing flavor for generations, or, do you venture out and place wine at the center of each dish using newer, more daring techniques? Both chefs produced amazing food–once you see the video, you’ll understand why it was such a close call. In the end, our judges, Nelson Starr, Alan Bedenko and Chef Kate Elliott, found Richert’s interpretations superior, but only by a hair. Additionally, the recent installation of a new roaming live feed camera made viewing the action from the audience better than ever.
THIS SUNDAY, Nickel City Chef XI will be held. This competition is one of the hottest of the season. It will feature the venerable (and as-of-yet undefeated) Nickel City Chef Paul Jenkins of Tempo versus the local-centric and talented challenger, Chef Jim Guarino of Shango Bistro. As usual, WBFO’s Bert Gambini will take the mic, assisted by this week’s co-host Nickel City Chef Adam Goetz. Goetz will also do the catering. Judges include Alan Bedenko, Buffalo News Food Writer Andrew Galarneau and Chef Jason Bielinski of Wegmans.
Rain is foretasted for Sunday, so if it looks a little gloomy, change out of your gardening clothes and hop over for some cool cocktails, killer snacks and one of the hottest Nickel City Chef competitions yet. Remaining tickets will be available at the door.
Can’t make it to a competition? Catch the Nickel City Chefs competing against one another at this year’s Taste of Buffalo.