A series of small cooking competitions featuring well known L.A. chefs is already underway, all in the name of promoting dineLA's upcoming Restaurant Week. The first round of “quickfire challenges” began on Wednesday, September 22nd, with Mark Peel (Campanile, Tar Pit) defeating David LeFevre (formerly of Water Grill) and Ben Ford (Ford's Filling Station) with his dish of matsutake mushroom-stuffed guinea hen. The competition continues tonight at Starry Kitchen from 6-8 p.m., when Octavio Becerra (Palate Food + Wine) will go up against Brendan Collins (Waterloo & City) to see who can make a better cold noodle dish using coconut milk, hoisin sauce, or oyster sauce.
Judges for tonight's competition are Starry Kitchen chef Thi Tran, Thrillist's Jeff Miller, and Krista Simmons from Brand X. After the competition, there will be complimentary appetizers just across the way at Casa Cocina y Cantina.
The three ingredients for the competition were selected by chef Thi Tran and husband/co-owner Nguyen Tran, who said that they also collaborated on selecting the type of dish. “This is supposed to be fun,” said Nguyen Tran. “We're not gonna be Gail Simmons and whoever else coming down on these guys.” During the competition, Starry Kitchen will also be previewing their dineLA menu, which will feature their much loved crispy green tofu balls. “We like participating in the community,” continued Tran. “I'm sure people are like, 'these guy are so lucky, they don't know what they're doing.' And we don't totally know what we're doing. We're still learning, and we hope we can be around for a long time.”
Next up will be a taco quickfire at Loteria Grill on September 30th, and then a finale featuring all of the winning chefs competing one last time on Tuesday, October 5th. Also joining Mark Peel in the finale will be Akira Hirose of Maison Akira, who won a cold soup challenge at Petrossian on September 24th.
DineLA restaurant week runs from October 3-8 and 10-15.
Starry Kitchen: 350 S Grand Ave, Downtown, (213) 617-3474.