Brewery Ommegang's Hop Chef Competition

April 23, 2013 4:09:59 AM PDT
Philadelphia is known as the best beer-drinking city in America, but some local chefs want more.

They're entered in Brewery Ommegang's Hop Chef Competition, and the local round is tonight.

Six chefs are entered. The winner of tonight's cook-off goes to a national championship round at Ommegang's headquarters in Cooperstown, New York.

We spoke with one of tonight's entrants, executive chef Patrick Szoke of South Philadelphia's "The Industry".

It's a restaurant and bar catering to food professionals, so Szoke is always challenged to be on his game.

Chefs in the competition drew for beers at random and Szoke got "Three Philosophers", a brew with hints of chocolate and cherries in its flavor profile.

On our visit to his kitchen, he produced a dish featuring mirepoix, the classic combination of carrot, celery and onion, sliced port cheeks, and the beer as a braising liquid.

For the competition, chefs will be judged on five criteria including how well they pair their assigned beer with ingredients.

Other chefs tonight include Eli Kulp of Fork, Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic, Lucio Palazzo of La Calaca Feliz, Nick Macri of Southwark, and Mike Deganis of Alla Spina.

The winner will represent Philadelphia in a national championship round at Ommegang's headquarters in Cooperstown, New York come August.

The winner there will be featured in Saveur magazine and on the website.

Tonight's competition is at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street. It's a ticketed event and the cost is $53.50 per person. Proceeds benefit the Mural Arts Program and Groundswell.