Today marks week 2 of the Epic Chef Showdown to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay, the area’s largest food rescue and distribution organization.

The seven-week competition kicked off with The Mill versus Locale Market/FarmTable Kitchen in a Chopped style showdown. Each week, two competing chefs receive a mystery box of ingredients and are challenged to create two unique dishes in only 30 minutes. When time is up, each dish is judged and one restaurant is eliminated. The winner moves on to the next round.

We love the friendly competition between 8 top restaurants from the Tampa Bay area including The Mill, Locale Market, Parkshore Grill, Mis en Place, Rooster & the Till, Ava, Noble Crust and Armani’s. A panel of local celebrities will determine each week’s winner, ultimately leading up to the finale on 8/14 which will recognize the ultimate Epic Chef.

THE CAUSE

According to their website, the “Epic Chef Showdown was created to bring the community together to not only enjoy the camaraderie and food from our local top restaurants, but to also take part in something much larger that is happening around us every single day.”

I was heartbroken to learn that hunger affects one in seven adults and one in four children in our community. It’s extremely humbling to step back and think about that statistic. Feeding Tampa Bay serves a food-insecure population of more than 700,000 people in a 10-county area.

Just imagine how far a small contribution could actually go to help fight hunger in our community.

EPIC CHEF SHOWDOWN WEEK 1 RECAP

You can start the battle against hunger by purchasing a ticket to the Epic Chef Showdown. With your ticket, you will be served a four course meal while watching two local restaurants compete for the cause.

Week 1: Chef Jeff Thornsberry (The Mill) versus Chef Richie Bergendale each created two delectable dishes for the judges to taste: the first dish had to include shrimp and turkey bacon; the second dish required yellowfin tuna and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

Chef Jeff Thornsberry’s Dishes

Dish 1: Turkey bacon butter pached shrimp on top of rehydrated figs, fried walnuts, and pickled apples

Dish 2: Seared Ahi Tuna with a Hershey’s chocolate bolognese sauce. Salad made with grapefruit and Brussels sprouts, pepper, toasted black sesame and sunflower seeds.

Chef Richie Bergendale’s Dishes

Dish 1: Endive stuffed with turkey bacon shrimp

Dish 2: Chocolate Sprite pickled mushrooms, confit tomatoes with yellowfin tuna

Chef Jeff Thornsberry of the The Mill was crowned winner of week 1, and will come back in week 5 to compete against the winner of tonight’s battle.

WHAT THE AUDIENCE ENJOYED

Course 1: Cheese and charcuterie by Elevage

Course 2: Sweet Corn Ravioli by Locale Market

Course 3: Pork Tenderloin with street corn, tamarind vanilla jus, and yucca chorizo

Course 4: Petit Fours by Chocolate PPi Vintage Confectionery

Epic Chef Showdown events will take place at the Epicurean Hotel’s Epicurean Theatre from 6:30 p.m.  to 8:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets to the public are available and include a coursed meal with wine pairings, inspired by the participating restaurants and Élevage.