After many weeks of enduring the trash-talking going on between chefs for the Ommegang-sponsored Hop Chef, winners were crowned at last night's event at World Cafe Live. The six cooks in attendance were Scott Schroeder of South Philly Taproom, George Sabatino of Stateside, Jason Cichonski of Ela, Joe Cicala of Le Virtu, Nick Elmi of Rittenhouse Tavern, and Jon Cichon of Lacroix.
The judges included Top Chef Jen Carroll, Art Etchells of Foobooz, Drew Lazor of Saveur Magazine, Emilio Mignucci of DiBruno's, and Mat Falco of Philly BeerScene Magazine.
After much deliberation, Sabatino took home the title from the judges panel with his impressive duo of dishes: a savory selection of lettuce wraps with smoked beef cheeks, watermelon rind, and beer-broiled peanuts; and the sweet option of Three Philosophers and head-to-tail cherries which used Pop Rocks to simulate the beer's effervesence.
As expected, Scott Schroeder walked away as the People's Choice, with his two excellent options: a roast beef with foie gras sauce and mustard, and a Bluefin crudo with basil seeds. The self-proclaimed People's Champ surely knows the people.
Congratulations to all who participated, and especially the winners. Also, a big pop to chef Jason Cichonski, who was competing (and looking fine) after a recent accident required ten staples to keep his sexy head together.