Competition Dining wrapped up in Greenville this week, and Cliff’s Valley Chef Todd Warden and teammates Kevin Furmanek and Scott Denomme walked away with the red jackets, $2,000, a beautiful chef’s knife and will go on to represent Greenville in the Competition Dining finals in Raleigh on Halloween weekend.
Tickets go on sale September 24 for the Battle of Champions. You can purchase tickets here.
I caught up with Chef Todd for a few minutes today to chat about his Competition Dining experience and what it means to take home the big prize.
“Going into this thing, we didn’t know what we were walking into at all, but we went in with an open mind,” he said. There were many sleepless nights and much stressing over the competition. “We’d meet up and plan out our dishes, then we’d get to the secret ingredient (during the competition) and scrap it all and start from scratch.”
Chef Todd’s team battled it out with Chef Nohe Weir-Villatoro of King James Public House in Asheville in the preliminary bracket on August 17th. Then returned for the Quarter Final Competition on August 26 against Passerelle Chef Teryi Youngblood and her team.
On September 1, Team Cliffs-Valley competed in the Semi-finals against Asheville Chef Eden Roorda from One Fifty-One Boutique Bar and Kitchen. From 14 chefs, the bracket narrowed to two. The Chef Todd and his team returned to Larkin’s Sawmill for the Finals on Labor Day to duke it out with Henry’s Smokehouse Chef Bo Wilder.
During each bout, chefs are basically quarantined sans phones early in the day. Two secret ingredients are revealed. The chef teams must use these ingredients in three dishes. Chefs cannot cook anything from their restaurant menus and they are not allowed to cook signature dishes. One more thing – no recipes. Along with the secret ingredients, the teams have access to a refrigerated truck parked out back and stocked with the highest quality ingredients from Competition Dining Sponsor Pate Dawson.
Think Chopped or Iron Chef, but everyone attending the event is the judge. No one knows who made each dish until it is revealed later in the evening when scores are tallied. It’s serious pressure for the chef teams whose dishes have to stand up to blind judging.
After competing in four bouts, Chef Todd and his Cliff’s Valley team came out on top.
Congrats to guys. We’ll be cheering you on during Halloween weekend!
Chef Todd Warden is currently in the kitchen at Cliff’s at Glassy. The restaurant is open to Cliff’s members.
Tickets are still on sale for Imbibe, the Cliff’s Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting Event (tickets on sale to the public).The Cliffs 2nd annual Wine & Food Festival culminates in elaborate style as they throw the largest wine and food event of the year. Experience over 125 wine samples, a lavish beer garden supported by local SC/NC breweries, handcrafted spirits from around the world, food pairings and chef stations, live culinary demonstrations, live music and dancing, Cliffs Member Art Showcase and a live charity auction for the Cliffs Residents Outreach (CRO).