Hop Chef: Think ‘Top Chef’ with suds

April 10, 2012

Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, N.Y., is launching a series of chef-driven, beer-pairing competitions under the banner, Ommegang Hop Chef Competition. The contest will officially launch at 1 p.m. April 28 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE, with seven chefs competing for the title of local Hop Chef.

Shouldn’t this have been launched during Easter weekend?

Anyway, the chefs will be asked to prepare two dishes each. The trick, of course, will be pairing them with one of Ommegang’s beers, and a panel of judges will determine whose pairings deserve to take top honors. The winner will go on to compete against other regional champions for the title of Grand Hop Chef at Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival in early August.

Find out which chefs are competing — and who will be judging them — after the jump.

The competing chefs will include Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar, Jeff Eng of Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge, Brad Walker of Boundary Road, Mike Bonk of Sonoma, Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana, Mark Marrocco of Magnolias at the Mill and Will Artley of Pizzeria Orso.

The chefs will have their food/beer pairings judged by Greg Engert, beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which includes Birch & Barley/ChurchKey; Bart Vandaele, chef and owner of Belga Cafe; Simon Thorpe, president and chief executive of Ommegang and Duvel USA; John Guattery of the Matchbox Food Group; Interim Washington Post Food Editor Bonnie S. Benwick; Washington City Paper beer writer Tammy Tuck; and Nycci Nellis, co-host of “Foodie and the Beast.”

Only 200 tickets are available to the public, who will vote for the People’s Choice winner. Tickets are $75 each and available for purchase online. The Hop Chef competition, I should note, is organized in part by Teddy Folkman, who’s not only the chef-owner of Granville Moore’s but also the Ommegang Culinary Ambassador.

Somebody’s moving up in the world.

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.
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