For the first time in the history of the Louisiana Food Prize, three female chefs will go mano a womano in the battle for the coveted Golden Fork! Megan Chavez (Tempo Eatery), Jessica Comegys (Caspiana Catering and Meal Prep), and downtown’s own Niema Longstratt (RNL Authentics and formerly of The Office Hub) will be joined by Eleazar Mondragon (Ki Mexico) and Robert Minor (Margaritaville Resort and Casino) for the blowout finals on Friday, October 4th at 7 pm in the middle of the 700 block of Texas Street.
“This is the first year that the majority of Battle for the Golden Fork finalists will be female chefs, and we couldn’t be prouder,” said Gregory Kallenberg, Executive Director of the Prize Foundation and creator of the Food Prize. “This group of chefs are creative, talented and innovative, and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top and wins the coveted Golden Fork.”
The competitors prepared their dishes live in front of a record audience of over 500 screaming fans and a panel of three Celebrity Chef judges. The chefs were required to use four ingredients out of a mystery basket, and were provided with a stocked pantry of kitchen staples. Each chef was also allowed to bring in their own “secret weapon” – ingredients purchased at Whole Foods for less than $20 that were not altered in any way and were vegan-friendly.
“We loved seeing the huge crowds of supporters our chefs brought to cheer them on,” said Melissa Brannan, Food Prize Coordinator. “And the judges were definitely impressed with the caliber of cooking that happened in only 45 short minutes, from flavor, to presentation, to creativity. I am thrilled for all of our finalists, and especially excited to see three women among our final five chefs.”
The semifinal competition was held on Sunday, September 8 at the Music Prize Garage and was judged by culinary celebrities Larry Lavine, Founder of Chili’s and Owner of Turtle Creek Restaurant Group, Mundo Villapudua, Co-Owner of Villa Montez, and Peter Barlow, Executive Chef and Owner of Niteshade Chef Collaborative. They praised all eight semifinalists for their creative use of the mystery ingredients, as well as their bold flavors and beautiful presentation.
The Louisiana Food Prize is a part of Prize Fest, Shreveport’s premiere Film, Food, Music, and Fashion Festival. This year’s festival is scheduled for October 2 – 6 in downtown Shreveport and Bossier City.
More information, including tickets for Food prize and full event schedule, can be found online at PrizeFest.com!