On September 18, 2014, the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) hosted the 10th Annual Chef Showdown, a highly anticipated and incredibly fun food tasting and mixology event. The event was hosted at the new San Diego Harley Davidson showroom; with their huge collections of beautiful Harleys, a barber shop, tattoo shop, mini movie theater and a bar, this Harley Davidson showroom is the largest in the country.
The culinary competition was put on to support prevention and intervention programs focused on ending domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse, and to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is held in October throughout the country. And what an event it is! Over 500 guests attended and participated in both the silent and live auctions which, in addition to the sold tickets, helped raise a significant amount of money benefiting the programs and services of CCS, a San Diego nonprofit that provides advocacy, legal support, healing and prevention services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse. An Evening At The Judges’ Table was auctioned off to not one but two attendees at $3,200 each; a Tuscan Culinary Getaway Package was sold for $3,400; Fleetwood Mac Concert Package went for $1,000, just to name a few of the live auction great packages. It was quite touching to see so many people come together and donate thousands of dollars to support such a great cause!
CCS today assists more than 11,000 women, children and families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse each year. CCS operates the only Rape Crisis Center in the City of San Diego along with a 24-hour bilingual crisis helpline as well as hospital and court accompaniment services for rape survivors, legal and advocacy for domestic violence and elder abuse survivors, and prevention and education outreach to youth of all ages. Additionally, it provides two 24-hour emergency shelter and transitional housing programs for victims of domestic violence and their children.
The actual “Iron Chef” style competition consisted of two teams of San Diego’s Top Chefs, including Amy Dibiase from Tidal, Lori Sauer from George’s at the Cove, Jason McLeod from Ironside, and Brandon Fortune from Kitchen 1540. Each team of chefs and mixologists competed using a few secret ingredients such as monchong, an exotic Hawaiian fish with large flakes and pink-white flesh, duck, pork, and coconut. Each team had an hour to complete a five course meal (amuse-bouche, fish, seafood, meat and desert), paired with mixed cocktails, and impress the judges’ panel which consisted of Chef Bernard Guillas from The Marine Room, Restaurateur Ingrid Croce, Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey, Executive Chef Paul McCabe, and Executive Chef Flor Franco from the newest restaurant in the Guadalupe Valley, Convivia Artesanal.
Emmy Award winner Sam Zien from the famous television show Sam the Cooking Guy emceed the competition and guests were in for a treat. An accomplished entertainer, Sam delivered commentary of the competition with great humor! When the lights went down we all went home fully entertained by a great competition but also happy to know that we all did our parts to help support such a great cause and to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Looking forward to next year’s Chef Showdown!