Always looking for any excuse to prolong the weekend, Eater Philly stopped by the first annual Tot Chef competition at North Bowl on Sunday evening. From 5 to 8 p.m., a collection of 11 amateur and professional chefs served up their best take on the often overlooked tater tots. (Let's get this out of the way: tots are better than French fries, period.)
Todd Lyons (left; he's a chef at Campbell Soup Co.) took Top Tot honors for his PBR-braised pork carnitas tots.
With no limitations placed on the menu, dishes included blue crab tots, PBR-braised pork carnitas tots (the ultimate winner for Best Tot), and a few dessert offerings. In addition to dishes from folks at Grubhouse and Soom Foods, the event offered a small taste of a soon-to-debut food truck, Seoulfull Philly.
Left: Generous servings of crab on the Blue Claw Tots, before topping; Right: Impressive final plating on the Blue Claw Tots.
Judging categories included Most Innovative, Booty Call Tot, and overall Top Tot.
S'mores tots require a blow torch, natch.
Sarah Moore, taking some time away from using the blowtorch on her S'moore's Tots.
In addition to the free tot sampling, $2.25 PBRs helped to keep everyone in good spirits, as did the Red Bull and vodka specials — but let's be honest, you probably aren't going to work on Monday if you are drinking Red Bull and vodka on Sunday night.
David Song of SeoulFull Philly gave a preview of the Korean-inspired food that will be served from his food truck, debuting soon.
Most contestants brought their own cheering sections.
Grubhouse's Christopher Ritter served up "County Fair Suquet" tots. (Suquet is a type of seafood stew.)
On-site frying for fried green tomato & deviled egg tots.
Game plan: Call in mom to help out.
Given the success, and the enthusiasm of all of the participant chefs, Eater assumes this event will become a yearly tradition.
Amateur contestant Devin Flannery served up a Southwest-inspired "Tots of the Border."
"Deconstructed Sabich" tots — named for the Israeli sandwich and, of course, featuring a special sauce made with tahini — from the folks at Soom Foods.
— Dan McKay
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