Two of the finest chefs North San Diego County has to offer – Chef Joey Maggiore of Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen & Tuscany Ristorante, and Chef Kurtis Habecker of the Argyle Steakhouse at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort –threw down the gauntlet and accepted the challenge to compete against each other in the inaugural North County Sunday Night Chef Fight on Sunday, March 20th at the Standards of Excellence showroom in San Marcos.
Chef Joey won the toss and elected to go first, dazzling the audience with four dishes utilizing the base ingredients of shellfish, broccoli, and cheese and the mystery ingredient mint. Chef Joey decided to attempt a high degree of difficulty, incorporating all four ingredients into each one of his dishes. He began by serving a lump crab cake stuffed with Borsin cheese and broccoli with a mint aioli sauce and a zucchini blossom stuffed with more lump crab, ricotta cheese, and broccoli in a mint beer batter. Next, Joey used his extensive knowledge of Italian cooking to put together a butterflied jumbo prawn caprese with fresh marinara, Buffalo mozzarella, broccoli, and fresh basil that was paired with house-made ricotta and spinach stuffed gnocchi topped with Parmesan and a brown butter mint sauce. Next, Chef Joey served up pan-seared scallops on top of a rapini-marscapone cheese risotto and garnished with a scallop shell and a splash of reduced aged Balsamic vinegar. Unfortuantely, preparation of this dish took Joey over his time limit, and although Chef Kurtis elected not to inflict a penalty on Chef Joey and to let him continue cooking, Joey was not able to present his fourth dish, a broccoli-lemon cupcake with sweetened marscapone cheese, mint, and broccoli icing.
Chef Kurtis stepped into the Cul-arena next with a menu of three dishes based around his love to fresh ingredients and never creating the same dish twice. He began with a salad of Dungeness crab mixed with ricotta cheese and orange zest on top of avocado, mint, and pink and Oro Blanco grapefruit. Next, he and his sous chef sauteed some new Caledonian prawns, leaving the head on, and paired those with white beans stewed with Pamplona chorizo, and a crostini topped with a rapini pesto. Last, Chef Kurtis put together for dessert a blue cheese and pear almond financier pastry, which he served with a marscapone cheese sorbet, a smear of raspberry coulee, and topped with elderflower syrup.
After the audience had had time to taste both chef’s creations and evaluate them thoroughly, the decision ultimately went to Chef Kurtis Habecker, who defeated Chef Joey Maggiore by a razor-thin split decision. Chef Kurtis is the first Champion Chef of North County and will return to defend his title against a brand-new Challenger Chef at our next North County Sunday Night Chef Fight on Sunday, June 5th at the Standards of Excellence showroom in San Marcos.
Tickets go on sale April 12th at www.sundaynightcheffights.com