All the rain in Spain couldn't have dampened the spirits at last night's Hot Rocks Griller Challenge at Elway's Cherry Creek (2500 East First Avenue), a benefit for the Denver Heath Foundation that brought together eleven Denver chefs, chaperoned by Denver Bronco cheerleaders, who coerced and sweet-talked patrons into "voting" for their mini burgers, or sliders, with different dollar value poker chips that were then added up at the end of the evening to determine which restaurant won the slider challenge.
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While reports of competitively friendly chip shenanigans -- chefs pilfering from each other's pots, other chefs molding cheese to resemble poker chips and putting them in their own pots -- surfaced, Candice Jones, special events coordinator at the Denver Health Foundation, was able to determine that Bistro Vendome and Rioja exec chef Jennifer Jasinski's sliders won by a shrimp. Which is perfectly appropriate because Jasinski actually served shrimp sliders on pâte à choux, which she paired with an insanely good black truffle fingerling potato salad.
Elway's exec chef Tyler Wiard, whose idea it was to have this friendly slider competition among chefs, came in a close second with his prime rib-eye steak sliders smeared with lobster aioli. But there wasn't a missed base in the bunch, with all the chefs -- Sean Yontz (Mezcal, Tambien and Sketch); Justin Cucci (Root Down); Jamey Fader (Lola); Troy Guard (TAG); Brian Liard (Barolo Grill); Elise Wiggins (Panzano); Goose Sorensen (Solera); and Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman (Vesta Dipping Grill and Steuben's) -- batting home runs.
To see all the snaps from last night's challenge, go to http://www.westword.com/slideshow./view/15785821.