Tennessee Flavors Knife Fight 2017
What an incredible and flavorful evening! I was honored to have my tastebuds asked to judge the 6th Annual Tennessee Flavors Knife Fight event at Nashville State Community College last night, and, man, were they put to the test. Two talented chefs, Chef Zach Wilkinson and Chef Bobby Hansen, teamed up with a Nashville State culinary student each to compete for champion. They were given an ENORMOUS mystery basket and a succulent Springer Mountain Farms whole chicken. Now, I've had my share of cooking contest experience, but THIS basket from the Nashville Farmer's Market would make me run like I've never run before (slowly since I was wearing a bit of a heel last night)! What blew me away was the talent these Nashville chefs have along with the grace under pressure. With a double decked room full of people watching them pull a beautiful chicken out of their hat, er pan, and judges watching their every move, they actually seemed to enjoy their mission. I won't lie: it was extremely hard to choose a winner. Both chefs showcased the chicken; one had pan seared the breast and the other had done a quick braise and both were seasoned to perfection. It came down to the vegetables in one dish being under cooked and the harmony of the bazillion basket ingredients shining in the other. To me, both chickens could not have been improved upon as they were both so juicy and seasoned that I wished they had more chicken on the plate! I can't wait to attend next year, either as a judge again or a cheerleader.