The second annual Scott Joseph’s Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing is Sunday, Sept. 15, and you’re invited to attend, taste the competitors’ dishes and vote for your favorite.
The event will be at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center and will be part of the ACF Central Florida Chapter’s Culinary Arts Competitions. Up to 15 sous chefs – the men and women who serve as second in command in a restaurant’s kitchen – will prepare and serve a dish that they think represents the next big food trend, whether that’s an ingredient, a method of preparation or a way of serving. The winner of the challenge will be presented a check for $1000.
The winner will be selected by a panel of certified chefs (and me) who will evaluate the entries for taste, creativity and presentation.
The contestants will cook in the Tasting Arena that will be set up on the convention floor next to the vendor exhibitions. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is generally open only to restaurateurs and culinary professionals. But those holding a ticket to the Sous Chef Challenge will be allowed to wander the convention floor, where, not incidentally, there will be dozens of other food, beer and wine samples to taste.
Only 95 tickets are available to the general public. The cost is $35 and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to Give Kids the World. Tickets can be purchased at the Sous Chef Challenge event page.
The Tasting Arena will open to ticket holders at 10 a.m.; tasting and judging will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The winners will be announced immediately following with a presentation of medals and certificates and the grand prize to the sous chef getting the most points from the panel of judges. A People’s Choice award will be presented to the chef who gets the most votes from the general public.
This is not only a chance to get a glimpse at possible food trends, both in what the vendors are presenting and what the contestants will be cooking, it’s also an opportunity to see some of the up and coming talent from some of Central Florida’s best restaurants.