Chef showdown benefit begins

The Epicurean Hotel, 1207 S Howard Ave., plays host to the seven-week Epic Chef Showdown Feeding Tampa Bay benefit from 6:30 to 9 p.m each Monday starting July 16 running through to Aug. 27.

Local celebrities and notable food writers will judge the fourth-annual cooking competition that pits eight of the Tampa Bay area’s top restaurant chefs facing off in the Epicurean’s Kitchen Theatre.

Each week two competing chefs get a mystery box of ingredients not typically put together and have to create two unique dishes with added pressure from a timed clock. Once the time is up, judges critique each dish, one restaurant gets eliminated and the winner moves on to the next round.

This year’s participating restaurants include Datz, Farm-Table Cucina, The Mill, Mise en Place, Noble Crust, On Swann, Parkshore Grill and Rooster & the Till.

Each week, celebrity Chef Jeff Philbin of ‘MasterChef ‘ will emcee the event. Maryann Ferenc, the well known CEO and proprietor of Mise en Place and Feeding Tampa Bay’s 2018 Hunger Hero, will emcee on the first and last week of the competition.

Judges rotate week to week including personalities ranging from Sheriff Chad Chronister, WFLA’s Stacie Schaible, radio personality Mike Calta from 102.5 The Bone and Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper.

‘Food brings people together to celebrate friendship, to embrace family tradition, and to share moments that shape who we are,’ said Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding Tampa Bay, in a prepared statement.

‘Epic Chef Showdown celebrates food in a unique and fun way, and our ongoing partnership with the Epicurean Hotel allows us to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in our community and ultimately give families in the Tampa Bay area the opportunity to reach their full potential because of a meal on their table.’ A limited number of tickets are available to the public for $125 and the finale is $175, which includes a course meal with wine pairings. Those without tickets can watch from the lobby area and Epic Chef Showdown will stream live on Feeding Tampa Bay’s Facebook and YouTube channel.

For more information visit EpicChefTampaBay.com.