Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PHILLY COOKS 2010 A HUGE SUCCESS AGAIN THIS YEAR

The area’s top chefs competed for Dish of the Year 2010, Best Appetizer, Best Entree and Best Dessert, last night at Philadelphia Magazine's popular Philly Cooks event held at the Loews hotel in Center City. The event benefited The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. Tickets were a bargain at $75 and allowed guests to sample dishes from all 40 restaurants that participated as well as enjoying an open bar.I swear every table I visited was dessert but it might be an illusion as now that I have a week under my belt I can tell you that I gave up the three "C's" for Lent, candy, cookies & cake. Although I am a recovering Catholic, I am a Christian, and I am thankful for so much as well as wanting to honor my sister. So hopefully this is the kick start to the promise I made her, as well as leading a more healthy life. OK so if you've been watching Ellen and her sugar cleansing, you know I may be a little more flaky than usual these next couple weeks.
This girl is so sweet, so glad I ran into her again. It's Marisa Magnatta the associate producer of Preston & Steve on WMMR. With her is Nick McIlwain Producer and webmaster.
My squeezes. I want to start chronically these two girls lives. Hadas Kuznits, KYW Radio Reporter who has a terrific blog: http://hakuproductions.com/ she already did the write up for Philly Cooks, and she was one of the judges too. With her is Kate Ryan. Kate used to work for KB Consultants, and has now ventured out on her own. Kate is getting married in 2 weeks to Garret Baird. Congrats Kate and Garret.
Another of the judges is Brian Kappra (Look for Brain's next big event The Party, Donors are Heroes on 4/16 at the Park Hyatt Bellevue.) Jan Shaeffer, Executive Director at St. Christopher's Foundation for Children and Craig Osterhact,
6ABC's Adam Joseph's was on hand to assist in the MC'ing duties. Thanks to Cori Moskow, Gloss PR for inviting me, and for walking me around in the beginning to get the shots I needed. Also good to see Tracy Seng, Marketing Dir of Philly Mag. Forgot to get a snap of her too.
Here are the dishes that were judge; Each dish was assigned a number and judges critique them on appearance and taste. BTW if you were following me on Twitter (iphillychitchat) Tues you might have seen that I was asked to be a judge for Delilah's Exotic Dancer of the Year on 3/24. That is as about out of my realm of expertise as it would have been if I were a judge at last nights event. The dish that won the overall contest, was not even in my top 5. Two of the judges that I hang on every word they say on their blogs (I don't know if I am allowed to release the judges names, is it like the Witness Protection Program?) LOVED THE DISH. Now they are the experts. (Of course u have to wait til the end to find out which one it was.)
Max Brenner of Chocolate by the Bald Man was in the house, signing his latest book and chatting with fans. Did you catch The 10 Show yesterday morning, Justin Pizzi stopped by for a little hot chocolate at their Center City restaurant located at 15th & Walnut behind Butcher & Singer. Max Brenner gave him the run down of the flavors and the reason behind the unusual shape of their hot chocolate cups. It's one of my fav stops in town and you do know they serve much more than just chocolate, they have salads, sandwiches etc.

Krista Peffler, John Muharg and Ronald Poulin of the Restaurant School of Philadelphia enjoyed the evening.
This was the judging station. next year I am showing up early and crashing it cause to me the judges were the "celebrities" and they are definitely on my get list. THE PHILLY COOKS 2010 JUDGES: Ann Michelle Albertson, Albertson’s Cooking School; Peter Callahan, Callahan Catering; Katie Cavuto, Next Food Network Star Contestant; Hope Cohen, Host of the Fretz Kitchen; Mary DiGennarro, Mercedes-Benz; Martha Esposito, Food Editor, Burlington County Times, Phillyburbs.com; Arthur Etchells, Foobooz; Aliza Green, Cookbook Author; Brian Kappra, Evantine Design; Linda Knox, Philadelphia Chaine; Drew Lazor, City Paper Food Editor; Maia Lystad, Diageo; Pam Parseghian, Nations Restaurant News; Maureen Petrosky, Iron Chef Judge; Larry Platt, Philadelphia Magazine; Ashley Primis, Philadelphia Magazine; Christina Pirello, Host of Christina Cooks on PBS; Karen Rogers, 6ABC; Michelle Shannon, Founder, Center City District Restaurant Week; Marilyn Russell, Ben FM; and Izabela Wojcik, James Beard House. Tomorrow night I will be listing the contestants for this years Philly Celebrity Dancers benefiting Sickle Cell Anemia, and Michelle Shannon's BFF is one of them.
Michael Herman and Debbie Parnes
Karen Brogan and Julie Santogusso. Karen liked Bocca's and Julie well she's Italian and she like everything she said.
Loved this guacamole/bean soup from Casona of Collingswood. Plus it was a beautiful presentation.
The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving care at local Philadelphia hospitals. We also run the Ronald McDonald Camp in the Poconos for oncology patients and their siblings as well as two Family Rooms in the Oncology and Cardiac Centers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to provide respite space for families away from the bedside.
Loved the shrimp dish from The Palm.

Cows tongue was Susan Glass' favorite dish, and she went back for seconds. Jana Challenger was into The Palm's crab cake sliders. Jana is on the committee for the Red Cross event coming up on March 6 at the Please Touch Museum, The Red Ball. That is always a fun event, especially when it's at the popular kids museum. Merry Go Round anyone? Check the PhillyChitChat calendar for all the information. Mack & Tom Harkin of Sole Food at the Loews
made my favorite dish: Pastrami Pork Sandwiches, #2 was the Peppercorn prime rib on a bed of mash potatoes by GlenMorgan Bar & Grill, St. Davids, Pa. Jocelyn Dillon was generous enough to give me two servings so I could make absolutely sure of my decision. Mack said that I had to try Susanna Foo's dish, it was one of his favorites. Bummer she was OOF when I stopped by.
Iris Brownstein, Sherri Resnick & Joan Denneberg
Melissa Bizzak & Sara Neal man the check in table
Valanni's John Strain and one of my favorite chefs Varga's looking skinny hot & ready to mingle R. Evan Turney. Bummer Varga's was serving their delicious cereal ice cream. I had to pass. Maybe I can lose 30lbs like Evan and look so hot.

The winner of the best entree, which was pork shoulder was the team from Derek’s. Derek is on the left. Chew Man Chu won best appetizer, take that Craig LeBann.
Tonight's overall winner was the Moshulu's Scallop dish on top of a bed of risotto. It was tasty, but I guess I was in the mood for meat tonight. Any way you slice it though, I do love dinner on the Moshulu, what a view!!
Hmmmm desert. Everyone seemed to love all the dishes, I went home and had a Vitamin Water 10 Very Berry, it's like near beer. Best Dessert: Apollinare (crescionda con gelato by chef Andrea Scatacci) For a list of all the winners check out Michael Klein's The Insider Blog.
Participating Restaurants include: 333 Belrose Bar and Grill, Alison Two,
Becca's Restaurant, Blackfish Restaurant, Bourbon Blue, Buddakan, Butcher
& Singer, The Capital Grille, Casona of Collingswood, Cavanaughs
Rittenhouse, Chew Man Chu, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Derek’s,
The Dining Car, Downey's, Funky Lil Kitchen, Glenmorgan Bar & Grill,
Golden Pheasant Inn, Jones, Kaya’s Fusion Café, La Na Thai - French
Cuisine, La Scala’s Restaurant & Bar, Le Castagne {2009 Winner-Dish of the
year}, Marathon Grill, Margaret Kuo's, Moshulu, The Palm Restaurant, Penne
Restaurant & Wine Bar, RiverWinds Restaurant, Rouge, SoleFood, Supper,
Susanna Foo, Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse, Valanni Restaurant & Lounge, Varga
Bar, Vino Restaurant and Lounge, White Dog Café, Yangming, Zento and more.

5 comments:

Felicia D'Ambrosio said...

I love that photo of Hadas and Kate Ryan! Two very dynamic ladies and excellent squeezes.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the best part of the whole event - DJ CHEF!! He was awesome cooking and deejaying at the same time on the main stage!!
I was just watching his videos on his site http://www.djchef.com amazing

HughE Dillon said...

Actually I didn't forget him, I knew one of my photos would be in Michael Klein's column on Sunday so I didn't post anything about him or Katie in my entry.
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/columnists/michael_klein/20100228_Inqlings__L__Merion_catches_Dr__Phil_s_eye.html

Anonymous said...

I can not believe blackfish didn't win with that amazing poached egg w/salmon!!!!

Lys said...

I was on the fence about attending. I should have went HughE - great pics as always :) Feel like dm'ing a gal those judge blogs? ;)