Colorado’s chefs are called on so often to help with charitable projects, it’s amazing that they’re ever in their own kitchens. But the fundraising formula is surefire: People love food orgies, especially when the fare is prepared by top toques. So when the Colorado chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation decided to stage its own event playing off the successes enjoyed by other CFF chapters around the nation, organizers did so without trepidation, even as they looked for a way to set their event apart from all the others. With help from the Colorado Chefs Association, they came up with the Next Culinary Voice: Chef’s Challenge, a competition with a twist.
“Everyone does this using celebrity chefs,” notes Jennah Lagomarsino of the CFF. “We decided to do something with up-and-coming chefs instead.” Aided by a celebrity panel — Mark DeNittis of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, Jenna Johansen of Epicurean Catering, Matt Selby of Corner House and Elise Wiggins of Panzano, who will all also serve as judges — CFF chose an exciting, break-through crew of six chefs and three pastry chefs to compete. “The competition will be similar in format to The Voice, where the judges have their backs to the audience, and if they like the dish, they turn around,” explains Lagomarsino. And while the signature-dish awards will be determined by the judges, the audience is invited to vote for the best desserts.
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Bon appétit! The judging and the partying go down tonight from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Mile High Station, 2027 Old West Colfax Avenue; buy tickets, $75 (or $125 VIP), at cff.org/chapters/colorado
Wed., Aug. 28, 5:30-9 p.m., 2013