In the past few months I have had the honor to meet, work with and watch Celebrity Chef Tre Wilcox. He owns and operates Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts in Plano, Tx. His website is an extensive resume with everything including:
“Twice nominated for the “Rising Star Chef “award by the James Beard Foundation, which is the “Oscars of the Food World,” Chef Tre was also named Best Chef by the Dallas Morning News. He parlayed his kitchen success onto the small screen by appearing on Bravo Television’s Top Chef season three and Top Chef All-Stars. There was also the Food Network program Iron Chef America, where along with his mentor Kent Rathbun, they beat the team headed by Bobby Flay. He’s been featured in Gourmet, Modern Luxury and Food & Wine magazines, just to name a few.”
My interactions with him have all been in his Cooking Concepts kitchen in Plano. First with an event hosted by Sprouts where we were put into teams and had 4 secret ingredients to make a dish. It was exhilarating. And believe it or not, but my team won. The second time I got to work with him was for one of his classes. I was filming a project with DTVUnleashed and iBlog Show. More on that little nugget in the near future. That was a more traditional educational class where we got to learn some pretty darn cool cooking methods and food combinations. This last interaction was last night at his 1st Quarterly Celebrity Chef’s Smackdown : “North vs South” Samir Dhurandhar, Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse takes on Jermaine Brown, Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine
This was like nothing I have ever been to before. I was so glad I was able to make it since I just had knee surgery on Friday, but I was not about to miss this. My sister agreed to be not only my date for the event but also my chauffeur and that was pretty cool. Kenny and Tre were greeting guests as they arrived to the live music and local foodies mingling in the venue. As you walked around there were 3 difference spirits companies with everything from a local Richardson brewery, a Potato based Vodka and even an award winning local wine company. Tasty treats were being passed while the 2 competing restaurants were having a friendly side by side sous chef competition with guests voting for the best few bite treat.
The winner of the people’s choice was Samir from Nick and Sam’s. And well deserved. That Duck Curry with Pang Nang sauce taco was drool worthy. Now on to the main event. The chefs were given their secret basket with 4 crazy mixes of ingredients: Rabbit, a small pumpkin, porter beer and 4 different vinegars to chose from. All of the ingredients needed to be used to compete but the food could be prepared in any way. The chef’s used their 8 minutes to decide what they wanted to create and the ingredients they needed from the kitchen and then the competition began. It was 45 intense minutes watching them blast their way around the kitchen. A head on battle, side by side in Tre’s Kitchen. Able to see each other create and yet have to stay focused while onlookers took pictures and asked questions. Tre even helped out some by wiping the sweat from both Chef’s brows. It was an exciting thing to watch. Reminded me of my first encounter with that kitchen when I was cooking myself. Watching these crazy talented chefs work was exhilarating.
Chef Samir and Chef Jermaine both used different unique techniques to get their flavors to shine. It was like nothing I had ever seen in real life before. I felt like I was watching Chopped live in studio.
Time quickly dwindled away. Before we knew it they were counting down from 10 minutes to 2 minutes and then it was the 10 second countdown. Chef Samir plated his food first. He was calm cool and collected. Chef Jermaine used every last second to plate and cut it to the very last second but finished in time. It was close.
Now we had to wait. The judges very carefully tasted each dish and then each ingredient within each dish. It was like dissecting a beautiful dish yet enjoying it all together. There is a science to it. As they tallied the points the chef’s stood by. I can only imagine that their nerves were shot after just speeding through the kitchen to create the meals that the judges so quickly devoured. And then it was time.
And the Winner is: Jermaine Brown, Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine
It was such a pleasure getting to watch these amazingly talented chef’s work in such a stressful challenge. It really shows you their true skills and abilities. I can’t wait for the next smackdown. Who do you think it will be?
Until next time folks: Which I promise won’t be such a long break again!