Culinary Fight Club Redfish Showdown

I have the pleasure of introducing Colleen Simmons, the author of this fabulous guest post, mastermind of the forthcoming Midcity Porch Crawl Best Group Costume Contest winners-to-be, and fellow hostess and secretary of the Midcity Dinner Club. Thank you Colleen and Mike for being Bake This Day ambassadors to the local Culinary Fight Club last week!

Last night we attended the third and final installment of Culinary Fight Club in New Orleans. It was a beautiful September night at Central City BBQ. The air was thick with the smell of seafood and bbq sauce for the Redfish Showdown!

As the chefs lined up to race to the pantry we placed our imaginary bets on who would win the night. I had to go with the only female chef. Mike voted for the oldest chef, “because he is the most confident.”

The pantry consisted of staples like butter and garlic, but also had some strange items like heavy whipping cream and pineapples. I was curious to see what the chefs would do with them. The chefs grabbed only what they could carry in their arms and aprons and started cooking. They would only have sixty minutes to make a winning redfish dish.

As the sixty minutes ticked by we explored the ground of Central City BBQ. It was a picturesque evening.

From 6:37 to 7:37 the sky got darker and the free NOLA Blonde flowed. Everyone was having a great time when they rang the bell for the finish. Each of the five chefs plated their dish and brought them up to the Judges table.

The Judges were kind to all the chefs, which made us that much more excited to taste the dishes for ourselves. No criticism? Please, well give them some criticism!

We lined up to taste all five dishes, but only got to taste four, because Chef Robert Vasquez ran out of his sheepshead fish dish with redfish ceviche. We were disappointed, and also gave him some criticism because redfish was not the main protein of his dish.

All of the four dishes we tasted were delicious.

Chef Diana Hicks made a blackened redfish with sweet pepper hash. The fish was crispy and cooked perfectly, but we didn’t get any of the sauce it was supposed to be topped with, so marks off for that. Chef Michael Brewer made a spicy and sweet redfish dish with spinach and miso and siracha. This one was the front runner for a minute. Next up, we tasted Chef Wayne Cooper’s redfish with cabbage slaw. This one got points off because the fish had tiny bones in it.

Finally we tasted the sweet heaven of the winning dish. Chef Nick Puletti made redfish with bbq butter and fried garlic on a bed of polenta. It was oh so unctuous and the taste of fried garlic stayed with us for the rest of the night. Perfect!

Mike’s face says it all. We turned in our ballots for the garlicy goodness, and waited for the final results. We were happy the Judges and audience agreed with us and Chef Nick took home the gold!

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