”Chefs, please open your baskets. For the main course you have canned peaches, arrowroot, bulgur wheat and pigs feet. You have 30 minutes to wow the judges with a meal using these key ingredients. Your time starts…NOW.”
These are the pop-iconic words from the quirky TV host, Ted Allen, of Food Network’s “Chopped”. If you’re a foodie like us, then you’re obsessed with one of the world’s best ongoing, full-contact cooking competitions: four chefs go head to head over three rounds under the pressure of a ticking clock.
Now you have a chance to see parallel action live,up front and in Nairobi.This year’s Oktoberfest is hosting a ‘Chopped’-like show on the main stage, Sunday, 22 September.
Some of Nairobi’s top chefs, including Michelin-starred Chef Barry Tonks (Hemingways), 2012 ‘Taste Chef of the Year’ Marcus Mitchell (Talisman), Brew Bistro Executive Chef Tim Freeman and culinary newcomer, Boma Hotel Executive Chef Archie Athanasius, will go head to head in Nairobi’s premiere food war.
Fireworks and flambés will light up the Oktoberfest stage as these culinary titans clash for the title of the ‘Oktoberfest Chopped Champion’.
No one wants to go home early and everyone wants the coveted title. Off the field, the slagging has already started. “Tonks has the Michelin star, but I’m on home turf! I’ll break him like a triple fried kenchic chicken wing on a Saturday night. Grrrrrrrr….” says a confident Mitchell.
When cornered to comment about his fellow competitors, Tonks had this to say: “Mitchell is a sound chef when he’s not prancing around like some kind of Food God; I box meat everyday, so I think I have the mental toughness to come out on top.”
In a move that says, “I’ll let my cooking do the walking,” the humbler Freeman and Archie chose to leave no comment on the subject of the competition, though Freeman was overheard saying, “I cook a five kilo burger, top that.”
Local celebrity chef and foodie judges round out an all-star cast including, EatOut’s CEO Mikul Shah, Fairview’s two-star culinary consultant Moshin Korich, Sonali Shah from Nakumatt and Fairmont Executive Chef Karun Suri. Given the heavy weight nature of the judges panel, the competition is sure to be decisive and final.
UP Magazine is the media partner for the competition and our very own Rand Pearson will host the heats. Nakumatt is supplying all the special ingredients for the “Chopped” Pantry and the Kitchen Smalls.
Morendat Farm is providing the premium aged lamb and beef, Nero is providing Executive Water and Sheffield Steel is supplying all kitchen equipment.
Brew Bistro and Lounge’s event organizer Soraiya Ladak says, “This will be a first for Nairobi. We have the right people, the right sponsors and the right environment to make this a premier culinary event. The sparks should be flying off the stage.”
We think she’s right. If you want to watch true gourmet gladiators at the top of their game battle it out live for guts and glory, make it out to this year’s Oktoberfest at the Impala Grounds from 20th-22nd September.