MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a mad shopping rush through the aisles of Whole Foods in North Miami at the start of a celebrity chef cook-off where three of South Florida’s top chefs teamed up with three culinary students from Johnson and Wales University for the Fill the Grill competition—and 20 is the magic number.
“We’re giving them $20 to spend, 20 minutes to shop, and 20 minutes to prepare an awesome cuisine,” said Jeremy Jones, spokesperson for Whole Foods.
The “cheftestants” are Chef Aaron Brooks (Edge Restaurant), and his teammate is student Tracy Blijden, Chef Todd Erickson (of Hua Hua’s Tacos and Haven) is partnered with student Chef Kelsey Carter, and Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli (The Eating House) is working with student Carlos Romero Lora.
“I’m excited about just getting to work with these chefs,” said Kelsey. “They’re legends in Miami area and we go to their restaurants and we now get to have a personal experience with them and have a personal memory.”
“I think we’re going to come up with really good food and have fun,” said Carlos.
“I want you to be inspired by what you can do in such a short amount of time,” said Tracy.
The chefs are “sort-of” ready.
“Do you even know what your menus are?” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.
All three chefs responded that they did not know.
“But these kids are going to cook and this is going to be an introduction to the industry,” said Chef Aaron.
The panel of judges includes CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo, alongside WIOD radio personalities Jimmy Cefalo and Brenda Basett
After shopping time is called, and receipts are checked for the $20 dollar limit, the teams get grilling.
Each chef played up their specialties; Team Erickson whipped up grilled mahi-mahi tacos on tortillas with avocado butter and a colorful minted stone fruit salsa, team Brooks is preparing grilled lamb kabobs with a grilled cauliflower and a kale salad topped and almond yogurt, team Rapicavoli went for the beef with grilled flat iron steak along with grilled veggies topped with a chimichurri sauce.
When time was called, the judges did their best to rate categories dishes by time, taste, and presentation.
“In 20 minutes they made this?” said Cefalo, after tasting. “It’s perfectly cooked with great spice.”
Both Petrillo and Basett agree with Cefalo.
It’s a tough taste test as all were winning dishes but Team Rapicavoli ended up taking the title–Chef Giorgio and Carlos’s flat iron steak pulled ahead with a one point win.
Aside from wining the “Fill the Grill” title, Carlos received a $500 Whole Foods Market Gift Card. Chef Giorgio received a $200 gift card. And Whole Foods Market put the icing on the cake with a $500 donation to the Johnson & Wales University Scholarship Fund.