Yesterday I had the opportunity to join the Executive Chef of Chiko Scott Drewno and Executive Chef Mike Isabella in judging the Hansik "Best Korean Chef Food Contest. Sponsored by the Korean Embassy, the four contestants had 45 minutes to prepare their version of a classic Korean dish, Bibimbap.
Contestants were from Bar Pilar, Daikaya, The Source by Wolfgang Puck and DAM Good Vegan.
Ellen Lee preparing. Here is her bio: Ellen Lee graduated from University of Maryland in 2015 with a degree in Neurobiology & Physiology. She worked at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center for two years while working as a server at a small Japanese restaurant on nights and weekends. She discovered her passion for the food and hospitality industry and eventually quit her full-time job at the lab to pursue cooking as a career. She found a new home and family at Bantam King, a chicken-based ramen and fried chicken restaurant under the Daikaya Group, and mentored under the great Chef Katsuya Fukushima. Her dream is to one day open a cat café, ramen shop, and karaoke bar all under one roof!
Danni preparing. Danni's bio: Danni McGhee, Plant-Based Nutrition Coach & Chef, is the founder of DAM Good Vegan, a lifestyle brand that inspires and encourages individuals to choose a plant-based vegan diet as the fastest way to optimal health and overall well-being. We are passionate about making the transition to a vegan diet simple, affordable, and DAM Good! She provides guidance on the principles of plant-based nutrition while introducing fun and easy ways to incorporate healthier options into their already busy lifestyle. DAM Good Vegan is a lifestyle brand that inspires and encourages individuals to choose a plant-based vegan diet as the fastest way to optimal health and overall well-being. We are passionate about making the transition to a vegan diet simple, affordable, and DAM Good! We offer online courses and personal coaching to help our students become empowered to navigate in a world that doesn't always make healthy, nutritious options convenient and accessible, and support each student through our membership site that gives access to 100+ plant-based recipes PLUS grocery & shopping lists, instructional cooking videos, education on detoxing, and weekly live Q&A calls!
Angel working hard. Angel's bio: Chef Angel Barreto deep appreciation for food was developed at a young age growing up in Seattle, Texas, South Carolina, and Illinois where he was exposed to a variety of foods that would fuel his life long passion for cooking. He the went on to attend L' Academie de Cuisine learning the fundamental basics of French food. After working at Vermillion he a wanted to expand his love of Asian cuisine so he began to work at TheSource by Wolfgang Puck. Working there for five years from line cook to Executive Sous Chef. Overseeing kitchen operations and helping with menu direction.
Jesse's tasty presentation of Bibimbap. Jesse's bio: Chef Jesse Miller, of Bar Pilar in Washington DC, has been cooking in the capital for over ten years. Cooking was not always his main focus as he began his career in kitchens while studying art in his home town of Baltimore. Twenty years later Jesse now uses his once passion for painting in the arts to create a unique menu that exhibits flavors from all over the world. Instead of just focusing on one style of cooking, Chef Miller has always enjoyed studying different cultures ingredients and dishes and using them on his menus. Jesse has been a mainstay for the Bar Pilar kitchen over the past four years but is currently working on his own restaurant with a couple of partners. Penny Royal Station, Millers new restaurant, hopes to be open by this coming fall.
A close-up of Jesse's presentation. He came in second overall but his Bulgogi was the best of the four.
Angel won with his heartfelt presentation of Bibimbap but I really liked Ellen's deconstructed look below.
A closer-up of her presentation and her delicious accompanying soup.
All-around a very fun afternoon! Thanks to my fellow judges Scott and Mike, and congratulations to the winner Angel who won an all-expense paid trip to South Korea!