COOPERSTOWN, NY — On Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m., some of Philadelphia’s most talented young chefs will compete in Brewery Ommegang’s second-annual Philly Hop Chef for a chance to represent the city in a cook-off at the brewery’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown event.
Six chefs will each create one dish showcasing their imaginative beer and food pairing skills, based on five principles of pairing. The dishes, all paired with Ommegang beers, will be served to a panel of judges and to all attendees; each chef will be given 15 minutes to describe and defend his dish to the judges. Co-sponsored by the prestigious food magazine Saveur, Philly Hop Chef will be held at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, 215-232-2100) and tickets are $53.50 per person, with a portion of proceeds going to support the Mural Arts Program and Groundswell.
“Beer and food belong together — whether as a thoughtful beverage pairing or as an ingredient — and this competition brings some of Philly’s best and brightest young chefs into the kitchen with our beers,” says Megan Maguire, Ommegang Market Manager. “Last year’s dishes were inspired, and the playful rivalries that developed between the chefs drove each of them to work harder and to create even more exciting and interesting dishes and pairings.”
The outstanding line-up of competing chefs includes: Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic; Lucio Palazzo of La Calaca Feliz; Nick Macri of Southwark; Pat Szoke of The Industry; Eli Kulp of Fork; and Mike Deganis of Alla Spina. The chefs will be judged based on five pairing principles: Simple Pairing, a direct interaction between food and beer; Incorporation, utilizing beer in the cooking process; Mimicking, matching the flavor profile of a dish with the flavor profile of a beer; Story Telling, tracing the history of the dish and the beer; and Experimental, making beer the star of the dish.
“Our Great Beer Deserves Great Food and Hop Chef programs further the very Belgian idea of food and beer pairing — that there is a beer for every dish. Starting this year’s competition off in Philadelphia is fitting as Philly is one of the centers of beer culture in the U.S. and it also has a booming restaurant scene with high quality food, both local and ethnic” said Phil Leinhart, Ommegang’s brewmaster.
The Hop Chef Competition is part of the Ommegang program known as Great Beer Deserves Great Food┬«, a national initiative dedicated to the idea that fine beer deserves its rightful place at the table with fine foods. The Philadelphia event is the first in a series of chef’s cook-offs across the U.S., including other semi-final competitions in Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and Albany, NY, culminating in a Grand Hop Chef cook-off at Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival August 2 to 4 at the brewery. In 2012, Philadelphia’s own George Sabatino won the national Hop Chef title in Cooperstown. He serves as the local Hop Chef Culinary Ambassador for this year’s competition.
In the weeks leading up to Hop Chef, fans and food and beer lovers can follow the chefs on twitter (hashtag#HopChef) as they taste Ommegang beers and create their competition dishes.
About Hop Chef Sponsors
The competition is put together by Brewery Ommegang and Saveur magazine, the definitive culinary and culinary-travel magazine of its generation. The epicurean authority seeks out stories around the globe that weave together culture, tradition and people through the language of food.
StarChefs.comÔäó, the magazine for culinary insiders, serving the restaurant industry since 1995. StarChefs.com’s original culinary content is driven by in-person tastings and interviews across the world. Its mission is to catalyze culinary professionals’ success and give them the tools they need to overcome their specific challenges.
Founded on the belief that it’s possible to combine high design with the highest standards of environmental responsibility, VerTerra now redefines what stylish, sustainable and compostable disposable dinnerware can be. Thoughtfully and beautifully designed, VerTerra offers a chic touch of nature to each table.
About Hop Chef Beneficiaries
The Hop Chef Competition benefits the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the largest public art program in the United States, which unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.
About Brewery Ommegang
Brewery Ommegang opened in 1997 to craft-brew fine Belgian-style ales. The brewery creates six ales year-round as well as a range of seasonal and specialty ales. The beers have won national following by connoisseurs of fine beer and are distributed in over 40 states. The brewery is located on a 136-acre farmstead in Cooperstown, NY, and offers free daily tours and tastings, as well as a Café, a well-stocked brewery store, and an online store.