The fourth annual Hot Rocks Griller Challenge at Elway's Cherry Creek last night, a benefit for the Denver Health Foundation, was hot in more ways than one: hot in temperature, with the the late spring sun beating down during the first hour or so; hot in hotties who stripped down because of that sun, but kept on their amazing shoes; and very hot in the competition between chefs making spicy, succulent sliders.
The chefs paired their sliders with appropriate sides and beverages. Here's the lineup:
Chef: Steve Ballas, Steve's Snappin' Dogs Slider: Homey Denver Burrito Dog Side: Freshmade Chili Con Carne Wine: Stemmari Nero d'Avola (Ballas also had a great beer from Bull & Bush.)
Chef: Robert Bogart, Elway's Downtown Slider: Sloppy Colorado Lamb Sliders Side: Golden Raisin Couscous Wine: Drouhin Laforet Chardonnay
Chef: Michael Bortz, City Bakery Dessert: Assortment of dessert sliders Wine: Patrón XO Cafe and Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa
Chef: Jamey Fader of Lola & Big F Restaurant Group Slider: Ropa Vieja Side: Black Bean Salad Wine: Querceto Tuscan Red
Chef: Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja, Bistro Vendôme and Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen Slider: Chroni-Chicken Sausage: Curried Chicken Sausage with Cashews, Celery, Bacon, and Radicchio on Focaccia Side: Baby Heirloom Tomato-Cucumber "Tabbouleh" Wine: Stemmari Nero d'Avola
Chef: Simon Purvis, EDGE Restaurant Slider: Kobe Beef with Caramelized Jalapeno, Red Onions, Shaved Fresh Horseradish and Truffle Aioli Side: Arugula and Shaved Apple Salad with Ver Jus Vinaigrette Wine: Drouhin Laforet Chardonnay
Chef: Paul Reilly (formerly of Encore) Slider: Duck Confit French Dip, Brie, Caramelized Shallots, duck Jus Side: Braised Radishes, Citrus Butter, Sea Salt Wine: Querceto Tuscan Red
Chef: Goose Sorensen of Solera Slider: Neuske's Bar-B-Que Bacon BLT Slider Side: Luxardo Cherry and Sherry Jello Shot Wine: Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir
Chef: Darrel Truett, Barolo Grill Slider: Braised Lamb with Fava Mint Pesto on a Brioche Bun Side: Fernet Float Wine: Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir
Chef: Tyler Wiard and Aniedra Nichols of Elway's Cherry Creek Slider: Aniedra's Reuben Side: Sweet Potato Tater Tots with Habanero Ketchup Wine: Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir
Chef: Elise Wiggins of Panzano Slider: Italian "Monte Cristo" - Prosciutto Cotto, Smoked Mozzarella with Raspberry Preserves Side: Minted Melon Salad Wine: Fuedo Arancio Dalila
Chef: Sean Yontz of El Diablo Slider: Torta Milanesa Side: Elote Con Crema Y Rajas Wine: Fuedo Arancio Dalila
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And the winners?
The Chefs' Choice competition was a tie between Troy Guard (TAG) and Paul Reilly.
And in the People's Choice category, the home team of Tyler Wiard and Aniedra Nichols of Elway's Cherry Creek took the prize. Guard came in second, and Simon Purvis of EDGE third.