For the fourth consecutive year, Bon Appétit chefs went to war…with each other. The 2017 edition of Chef Wars presented a cutthroat culinary competition among 18 chefs from multiple corporate cafés in South San Francisco split into three teams.
Director of Operations Yoel Cohen and Executive Chef Jenem Martin selected the mandatory ingredients, which this year included grass-fed beef, spot prawns, eggs, lemongrass, black garlic, cauliflower, dragon fruit, and kombucha. (Chefs were permitted to use items from the kitchen as well.)
Each team had one hour to prepare an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Highlights of the resulting dishes included a silky, elegant cauliflower soup and a dragon fruit dessert soup that featured “water ganache” made with kombucha.
Judges included Bon Appétit Regional Vice President Rob Kvitek, Senior Vice President Cary Wheeland, and Senior Benefits Analyst Sharon Cerini. The winning team — Executive Chef Laurent Vaily, Cook John Pantonial, Executive Chef Jorge Sanchez, Sous Chef Oscar Vasquez, Executive Chef John Koyanagi, and Sous Chef Cristian Abea — eked out a victory by a margin of a single point! Scoring was based on 10 points for taste, 5 points for adherence to the Bon Appétit food program, 5 points for originality, and 5 points for presentation. Each member of the winning team received a knife, their names engraved on the Chef Wars trophy, and — best of all — bragging rights for an entire year!
Submitted by Jenem Martin, Executive Chef