Culinary teams, comprised of a restaurant executive, a corporate chef and a ProStart high school student, had 30 minutes and two butane burners to create an amuse bouche and an entrée.
New this year was the inaugural Cocktail Clash. Teams had 5 minutes to create a cocktail using Jose Cuervo and a Coca-Cola juice or mixer, a nod to the event’s sponsors. Points were awarded for innovation, complexity, garnish and overall taste. The first ever Jose Cuervo Golden Goblet was awarded to Lawry’s Prime Rib with “The Royal Berry” was made with Jose Cuervo, muddled blue berries, fresh Lemon Juice, simple syrup, a dash of prickly pear and a ounce of Zico coconut water. The vibrant cocktail was garnished with assorted berries and served with sugar and orange zest.
The Golden Glove, the event’s highest culinary honor, was awarded to Urban Plates “Thanksgiving Sushi Roll” – layered ground Foster Farms turkey, sautéed beets from FreshPoint, sweet potato, and homemade stuffing. Read about all the winning dishes here.
Bragging rights and the biggest trophy once again go to team Black Bear Diner, who clenched The Purse for the third year in a row. The Purse is awarded to the team that raises the most money for high school culinary arts programs in an online fundraiser.
Real Mex Restaurants and their brands El Torito, Chevy’s, Acapulco and Las Brisas dished out crowd-pleasing Mexican food delights including ceviche rojo, Hamachi sashimi, tacos al pastor, and of course, handmade guacamole. The event turned into a sea of sombreros after Real Mex handed out 900 sombreros. Photos from the event can be found here.
All categories and winners:
The Purse: Black Bear Diner
Golden Glove: Urban Plates
Coca-Cola Champ: Lawry’s Prime Rib
Foster Farms Turkey Champ: Specialty Restaurants Corp.
Ecolab Champ: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and BJ’s Restaurants
KitchenAid Commercial Champ: Hard Rock Cafe
Team Spirit: Hard Rock Cafe
Teamwork Champs: Yard House
People’s Choice: Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center
Best Bite: Urban Plates
Golden Plate: Lawry’s Prime Rib
FreshPoint Secret Ingredient Champ: Specialty Restaurants Corp.
Jose Cuervo Golden Goblet: Lawry’s Prime Rib
Coca-Cola Champ: Coasterra
Best Garnish: Lawry’s Prime Rib
The Craftiest: Lazy Dog
The event ended on a jubilant note when U.S. Bank took the stage to present the CRA Foundation with a $10,000 check to support it's work to empower high school students in Los Angeles.
“What an experience for our students! They cooked side by side with incredible chefs from world-famous restaurant brands,” commented Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of CRAF. “We are tremendously grateful for the support of the teams, sponsors and volunteers who made it all possible.”
The event raised a record of more than $100,000 to support culinary arts education in California through fieldtrips, demos, classroom equipment, job-readiness training, and more. More than 9,000 students benefit from CRAF’s ProStart program in the state.
Event sponsors: Coca-Cola, Jose Cuervo, Sysco, FreshPoint, Foster Farms, Southern California Edison, Heartland Payment Systems, Real Mex Restaurants, Ecolab, Bridg, KitchenAid Commerical, Bamboo Studio, Tampa Maid, Kagome, Gold Label, DiscoverLink, United HealthCare, Dart Container Corporation, Rodney Strong Vineyards and Karl Strauss Brewing Company.
Visit www.calrestfoundation.org/clash to learn more.
About the California Restaurant Association Foundation:
California is home to more than 90,000 eating and drinking places that ring up more than $72 billion in sales and employ more than 1.6 million workers, making restaurants an indisputable driving force in the state’s economy. The California Restaurant Association Foundation is a non-profit that empowers and invests in California's current and future restaurant workforce. Founded in 1981, CRAF supports the restaurant community through emergency assistance grants for restaurant workers facing a hardship, job and life skills training for 9,000 high school students each year, and scholarships.