Luce Hosts 3rd Culinary Clash Cooking Competition

Culinary Clash Competitor Ronak Nanda
If you're addicted to the Food Network's cooking competitions, you're in luck this month -- here's a chance to see one for yourself, and even judge it. Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco is partnering with Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts for Culinary Clash, a cooking contest for the next three Sundays this March.

For the third year running, three student chefs will compete for scholarships and a chance to cook with Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey of Luce, with their menu featured at the restaurant. The winner will also compete at the nationwide Ultimate Culinary Clash this May. Judges include a mix of hotel executives, local personalities, food writers, and restaurant guests.

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Student Throwdown! Culinary Clash hits Luce this Sunday

Connie Perez-Wong
Clash of the Culinary Titans, the finalists: Jessica Lee (CCA), Brennan Price (CCA), Juliet Fine (Ai), and Maree Garcia (Ai).
May the best student-chef bag fame and (scholarship) fortune! That's the premise of an upcoming Culinary Clash happening this weekend at the Michelin-starred Luce at the Intercontinental SF. Local culinary students The Art Institute of California - San Francisco (Ai), and the California Culinary Academy Le Cordon Bleu (CCA) will compete for a top prize in a series of Sunday dinners in collaboration with Chef Daniel Corey. Sunday's dinner is the creation of Maree Garcia, an Ai student: pan seared scallops with broccoli puree and vegetable salad; braised pork shoulder with chilies, poached egg and crispy Brussels sprouts; and a sweet ending of pear sorbet with lemon tuile.

See also: NBC TV Casting: Home Cooks, Step Up (And Tighten Your Apron Strings!)

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NBC TV Casting: Home Cooks, Step Up (And Tighten Your Apron Strings!)

Flickr Planet Love Lamb and Pork BBQ
Calling all home cooks! NBC is scouting for a new cooking show with the working title of Food Fighters. Many of the pertinent details are being kept under wraps. Casting Producer Erin Tomasello wouldn't fully dish on the reported "Big $$$$ prize" (for a dish of "bangin' BBQ", no less!) or if any celebs would be involved with this project just yet. Knowing this show is slated for primetime on a major network means that it could offer peeks of real home cooks strutting their culinary stuff, with some famous faces mixed in to keep things compelling.

See also: Read "Food on TV" archives

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Fabric8's Nog-In Showcases a Holiday Drink

Tamara Palmer
Last year's Nog-In defending champ.
Fabric8's Fourth Annual Nog-In

Where: Fabric8, 3318 22nd St. (at Valencia), 647-5888
When: Sun., Dec. 16, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free

The rundown: The yearly Nog-In competition demonstrates that the best egg nog doesn't always have egg in it, nor does it have to have alcohol. All varieties with or without dairy or booze are welcomed in this friendly and casual competition, which is decided by public vote.

See Also:
- Farewell, Fabric8: Mission Art Gallery Rebrands in 2013
- Best Parklet With Video Games: Fabric8

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Kugel: Experience Many Varieties at Hanukkah Nosh-Down

Noodle kugel.
1st Annual Kugel Nosh-Down

Where: Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, 290 Dolores (at 16th St.), 861-6932
When: Sun., Dec. 9, 3-5 p.m.
Cost: $25 ($15 for children under 13); purchase in advance via Brown Paper Tickets

The rundown: A festive celebration of the first night of Hanukkah includes a menorah lighting ceremony as well as an opportunity to sample different takes on kugel to crown a kugel king or queen. (Well, not formal royalty, just the best of the bunch.)

See Also:
- Wise Sons Deli and Old World Food Truck Offer Hip Hanukkah Options
- Q&A with Evan Bloom of Wise Sons Jewish Deli

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Burrito Eater Will Soon Crown The Next Best Slab in San Francisco

Flickr/Laughing Squid
Papalote, the reigning champion.
Burrito Eater, a site billed as "San Francisco's top resource for taquerias and mustaches," hosts a biannual life threatening exercise called Slab Scrum to determine the city's best burrito. (If they did it every year, the site owner's life expectancy would probably be sadly short.)

This is always a fascinating competition to watch unfold on the site because the Burrito Eater is not biased toward the Mission more than it has to be. While it's the acknowledged ground zero for the burrito, other neighborhoods have managed to fare very well in this food-focused process. Just ask the Fulton Street location of Papalote, winner of the the 2010 title.

See Also:
- Papalote Burrito Snags Slab Scrum
- Buy Salsa, Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

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Attend a Pork Battle That Goes Whole Hog

High on the Hog 2012

Where: East Beach Picnic Area, Crissy Field, 603 Mason (at Halleck)
When: Sat., Sept. 15, 1-6 p.m.
Cost: $20 (purchase in advance via Eventbrite)

The rundown: Billed as "San Francisco's first whole hog BBQ competition," High on the Hog began four years ago as a private party for friends of East Coast transplants Mark Platosh, Bob Mayes, and Wyatt Nordstrom, who were disillusioned with fey California interpretations of hearty pork classics. The organizers now open the eating portion of the contest up to 200 members of the public with this BYOB event.

Three teams will take on three Balbas Farm hogs (75% Berkshire, 25% Duroc) that were raised on a diet of yams, squash, fruit, acorns, and walnuts. The chefs will explain to the crowd how they've prepared each one before serving them. Because they will utilize the entire animal, expect to learn about and appreciate a lot more than just bacon.

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Saturday: Omnivore Books Hosts Pie Battle

Flickr/Steve Snodgrass
Omnivore Books has been holding amateur pie-baking battles its the tiny shop since 2009. This year's is set for Saturday, Aug. 11, from 3 to 4 p.m.

It's a casual competition that doesn't require advance registration; you can literally show up with a pie you've baked and cut into as many samples as possible. The winner splits the door take (eaters pay $5, contestants enter free) with owner Celia Sack.

There are no limits to a pie's ingredients, but according to the seasonality chart at CUESA, it's the perfect time to consider using kumquats, cactus pears, pluots, figs, and mandarins. The winner of the last competition took home the gold with a banana cream pie.

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For Bacon Takedown, Public Works Seeks Chefs for Porcine Battle

Bacon Takedown
Last year's Bacon Takedown at Thirsty Bear.
Calling all professional and amateur chefs wiling to wallow in a gift of 15 pounds of Hormel Black Label bacon: Matt Timms wants you for the Bacon Takedown on July 15 at Thirsty Bear Public Works. Timms is based in New York and throws Takedowns around the country.

"Maybe you already knew this, but SF is a pretty food-ish town -- so they didn't even blink when I said, 'Yo dudes, want 15lbs of bacon and make whatever you want?" Timms blogged of last year's local stop. "They just rolled up their sleeves and said, "No big woop, what about we do jam, ice cream, cupcakes, macaroons and also other stuff? Dudes, it really was that awesome."

Last year's top judges' picks included bacon fried chicken with sweet potato biscuits, bacon macaroons with bacon-infused port wine filling, and bourbon bacon jam, while a creation called bacon jalapeño popper tamales stole the people's choice vote.

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Cake Smackdown on Saturday

Sat Addict
Cake Walk

Where: Omnivore Books, 3885a Cesar Chavez St. (at Church St.)

When: 4-5 p.m. Saturday, July 9

Cost: Free for bakers; $5 for eaters

Think you've got mad cake-baking skills? Test them out Saturday at Omnivore Books' "Cake Walk" competition.

The contest is open to everyone, free to enter, and has no pre-registration required. Just bake a cake and bring it, along with a knife to cut it. And we do mean Bring It! Omnivore will provide plates, napkins, and forks; the lust for cake will provide eaters.

If you're more of an cake lover than a culinary fighter, no problem: Pay $5 at the door and you will be a registered cake voter. You can sample all the cakes -- good luck, when Omnivore held a cookie contest 65 people entered -- and vote for your favorite.

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