Taste of Buffalo's Culinary Stage

This year Buffalo Spree, Nickel City Chef, and Artisan Kitchens & Baths were proud sponsors of the Culinary Stage which featured exciting food competitions and demonstrations at the Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops. The Culinary Stage pantry was sponsored by Tops Friendly Markets, and audience member's received complimentary samples of Tops items all weekend long. It was a packed house for virtually every show, and the audience was engaged and excited, often asking chefs their autographs once each event was over.

The decision to showcase local culinary talent at the country's largest two-day festival was a good one, seeing as how Western New York is home to so many excellent independent restaurants. I was pleased to act as announcer throughout the weekend, and the audience was able to enjoy shade and entertainment under the big, beautiful tent provided by ABC Rental.

Below we have some images for you from the weekend, along with the results of each competition. Many thanks to all who participated in making it such a great weekend. See if you can spot your favorite chef!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Sous Chef Battle

Chef James Gehrke of Sample (Buffalo) and Chef Ryan McNeela of Creekview (Williamsville) will compete to complete the two best dishes in 45 minutes featuring a secret ingredient. This should be a fierce competition, as a restaurant's second in command is rarely given the opportunity to show their culinary ability in a public forum. Judges for this event include: Chef Mike Andrzejewski of the critically-acclaimed Sea Bar, Alan Bedenko, food critic for Buffalo Spree magazine, musician and foodie Nelson Starr, and one lucky audience member.

WINNER: Chef James Gehrke of SAMPLE


Nickel City Chef presents Battle: Taco

There are a thousand ways to make a taco, but which one is best? Nickel City Chef Krista Van Wagner of Curly's (Lackawanna) will compete against Nickel City Chef JJ Richert of Torches (Kenmore) to win the hearts of our panel of judges with their best interpretation of the humble taco. Judges for this event include: Andrew Galarneau, food writer for The Buffalo News, chef and cookbook author (Mexican Flavors, 2010) Laura Anhalt, food blogger Don Burtless of BuffaloEats.org and one lucky audience member.

WINNER: Chef Krista Van Wagner of CURLY's


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Flapjack Fun — sponsored by Cambria

A panel of kid judges pick the perfect pancake. Kids, come watch Marco Sciortino of Marco's and Tucker Curtin of Lake Effect Diner flip their favorite flapjacks in hopes of being crowned the Prince of Pancakes.



All Prepped Out! — sponsored by CUTCO

Chef Brett Brennan of Sea Bar (Buffalo), Chef Ken Foland of Merge, and Chef Hanna Youngling of Toro (Buffalo) are vying for a trophy and bragging rights with this exciting competition. Speed, dexterity, and skill are required as these chefs race through a series of timed heats based on basic kitchen skills (i.e. chopping onions, separating eggs, julienning carrots, quartering chickens). In this competition, precision and technique are as important as finishing first. Judges for this event include: Chef Mark Mistriner and Chef John Matwijkow of Niagara Culinary Institute, and Chef John Santora of Alfred State College.

WINNER: Chef Ken Foland of MERGE


Nickel City Chef presents Battle: Street Food

Street food is all the rage, and in this exposition, Nickel City Chef Adam Goetz of Sample (Buffalo) will compete against Nickel City Challenger Mary Ann Giordano of Creekview Restaurant (Williamsville) to win the hearts of our panel of judges with their best savory street food item. Judges include: Pete Cimino and Chef Chris Dorsaneo, founders of Buffalo's first food truck, Lloyd, well-respected local chef, James Roberts of Park Country Club, and one lucky audience member.

WINNER: Chef Adam Goetz of SAMPLE


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