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Foodie Versus Chef Competition at Wakehouse

IN THE September 28 ISSUE

FROM THE 2019 Articles,
andFood Fun,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andReedley News
SECTIONS

by Lorie Lewis Ham

The Wakehouse in Reedley is providing a unique and fun opportunity for anyone who is passionate about food. They are having a 15 week competition called Foodie Versus Chef, which takes place during Monday night Football and started a few weeks ago. “We try to create a relaxed, fun environment for customers and competitors by inviting them to spend their Mondays and start their week in a family environment, dining, and most importantly enjoying each others company,” shared Justin Simmons, General Manager at The Wakehouse. We took a moment to chat with Justin about this fun event!

KRL: What happens at these events?

Justin: Every week two competitors are welcomed into our kitchen and are assigned a theme and a few mystery ingredients for them to incorporate into a dish of their own. They each get 15 minutes to brainstorm and familiarize themselves with our pantry ingredients. After the 15 minutes, the timer begins and they have exactly 2 hours to execute and plate 40 “tasting portions” of their dish to be distributed to the crowd who has no idea what team cooked what dish.

KRL: Who decides on the winner?

Justin: Each customer that purchases a food voucher receives a voting card with which they vote for their favorite. We also invite a panel of three guest judges every week from local restaurant/ businesses to vote based on a points system. In the event of a tie, the winner is decided by the judge’s total points for each team.

KRL: How do you pick the foodies and is it against your own chef or other Valley chefs?


Justin:
We screen our “foodies” to ensure they are all properly adequate to handle food and have the proper knowledge of safe food handling procedures. All of the industry professionals that compete are from other restaurants in the valley. Our chef serves as an advisor and host but does not compete herself.

KRL: What can you tell me about the foodies and chefs involved?

Justin: We look for candidates that we feel are excited about their food and are not afraid to get creative in the kitchen and we have done just that! We have hosted everything from really amazing home cooks that have never cooked for anyone but their family, to successful chefs that have been in the industry for years. Some of our past competitors have really used this opportunity to grow their confidence and have branched out from small catering businesses to large amazing operations with a huge following and reach. They have also all bonded throughout the process and have built a network of food followers.

KRL: Have you done this before?

Justin: This is the second season of our competition that runs 15 weeks long.

KRL: Where did the idea come from?

Justin: The idea derived from the desire of building and growing a food culture where people can get excited about food and celebrate all that it entails to share that experience.

KRL: What are the dates, and is there a cost to attend?

Recent winners David Hassett and Mike Stivers.

Justin: There is no cost to attend and voting vouchers are $12. We run our competitions every Monday Night week 1- 15 of the NFL football season starting at 5 p.m..

KRL: Anything else you would like to add?

Justin: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more information!

The Wakehouse is located at 850 N Kings River Rd. in Reedley, CA.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

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