Sunday Night at the Chef Fights

When the desert’s top chefs battle in Rancho Mirage, foodies win the bounty



PHOTOGRAPHY BY JON EDWARDS

Popular desert chefs duke it out in an exciting culinary competition that debuted in January. The inaugural Sunday Night Chef Fights event at Standards of Excellence Kitchen and Bath Showroom in Rancho Mirage pitted Andrew Copley, owner and executive chef of Copley’s on Palm Canyon, against Matt Smith, executive chef of 3rd Corner Wine Shop & Bistro in Palm Desert.

The brainchild of Chris Kern, creator and founder of Forgotten Grapes, Sunday Night Chef Fights features a fun series of live chef competitions here and elsewhere in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Orange counties. As master of ceremonies, he interacts with the chefs as they work, adding color commentary and impromptu interviews with questions from the audience.

“[Chefs Copley and Smith] did an outstanding job; and we enjoyed all of the food and the multiple wines provided by host Chris Kern, who brought professionalism and humor to the event,” says John Glenn, a Copley’s customer since the restaurant’s inception who attended the first chef fight. “We were so delighted that we have invited 14 friends to join us in the first row at the April 10 event.”

The fights test the chefs’ creativity and ability to cook against the clock and to present tasty, beautiful creations for an audience of  food lovers and even a few critics. One week before the fight date, the two chefs meet to draw three mandatory ingredients — one protein/meat, one vegetable, and one grain/starch, plus a mystery ingredient they must include in their presentation as they are video-taped for www.sundaynightcheffights.com.

Each chef receives $350 to buy the ingredients and one week to plan and prep ingredients for the fight. They may prepare a single dish or multiple dishes, as long as all base ingredients are represented; but they must prepare enough of each dish to feed approximately 60 attendees. On the night of the event, each chef and a sous chef of his or her choosing have only 30 minutes to cook, finish, and plate their dishes while Kern’s play-by-play reveals the chefs’ style and technique.

Each bout includes an undercard, Vini Vidi Vici, a blind testing of three wines. Audience jurors receive 2-ounce pourings and learn a little about each wine as the night progresses, but not the varietal or producer until the results are tallied for the chefs. Jurors may purchase their favorite wine at the venue to take home.

Copley, who won the first-round trophy in a split decision, will defend his title on April 10 against challenger Aaron Kiefer of East Meets West Catering. A winning chef must triumph three consecutive fights to retain the trophy and gain the title of Top Chef in the Coachella Valley.

If you’re a food lover, burgeoning or experienced gourmet, or looking for fun on a Sunday night, this event serves up great food, chefs’ tips you cantry at home, and culinary rivalry. For information or reservations, visit www.sundaynightcheffights.com and www.forgottengrapes.com

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Ernest Coffee Palm Springs Imports Local Baked Goods

The caffeinated buzz going on about Ernest Coffee in Palm Springs is as much about the coffee as it is about the fresh pastries coming from off-site bakers.

Thrillist Ranks Las Casuelas Terraza Among Top Mexican Restaurants

Las Casuelas Terraza in downtown Palm Springs has been named a “Top 21 Mexican Restaurants in America” by the editors of Thrillist.

TRIO Palm Springs Heats up in August With Menu Specials

August brings much-anticipated weekly menu specials and Brunch A Go Go with bottomless mimosa, plus the celebrated extended happy hour in the always-jumping bar.

Chef Roy Choi, Kogi BBQ, Chego!, A-Frame, Sunny Spot, and POT

Chef Roy Choi shares his recipe for and prepares Korean barbecue on the final day of Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ 2014

Solano's Bistro Caters to Locals All Summer Long

Solano's Bistro owner and chef Francisco “Paco” Solano says his La Quinta restaurant is a “locals” place that works to serve customers all summer long.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.