“On your mark, get set, EAT!” That is the theme for the night at the Celebrity Chef Challenge. With good food, good wine, and good company, there are nothing but smiles.
The host for the night,InAlliance, is an organization that helps people with disabilities live a normal life by helping with living arrangments, alone or in groups, as well as job placement and training, according to board member Carl London.
“I have a 12-year-old son that is blind, mentally retarded, and has a seizure disorder, so this cause is close to my heart,” London says.
Among the festivities is a silent auction with prizes including a 12 person party catered by Big Spoon Yogurt, a trip to Paramount’s Great America, a trip to Reno, a San Francisco PLAYcation, and a trip to Lake Tahoe.
Attendee, Julie Postier, says, “It’s a great event and a wonderful cause. It’s a great place to just hang out. It’s not a typical bar or restaurant and it’s excellent food and wine with lots of fun.”
A crowd favorite is Berryessa Gap winery.
Berryessa Gap owner, Clint Crow, explains that it’s a family owned winery since 2002 and they participate in all of the local events such as the grape escape.
“If you’re a food and wine person you have to be here,” Crow says.
Another hit of the night is Granite Bay Farms Specialty Foods.
Owner and creator, Abe Kazimierek, says, “When I was 19 I was just looking for stuff to put on a hot dog and I came up with the hot pepper relish it’s a secret recipe though so only me and my wife know what exactly is in it.”
Enthusiastic attendee, Peggy Mutinda, says she has been coming to the event for four years and loves the food, wine and company,
“It’s great if you’re a foodie,” Mutinda says.
Aside from the variety of vendors is the main event, The Celebrity Chef Challenge.
Attendees, Rachel Stewart and Chandra Rumsey mention, “We came because we watch iron chef all the time and this is like our own version.”
The challengers are given five secret ingredients to cook with that consist of: scallops, raspberries, quail, jalapeno peppers, and ale.
Competitor Charles Connell,a chef from the Sacramento Doubletree hotel, describes the event as, “ Nerve racking because we have to make a three course meal in 45 minutes.”
“It’s the first time competing at this event but I’m doing it just for fun and some expose for the hotel.” Connell says.
6-year-old, Tom Connell, the son of chef Charles Connell shared a moment with the audience as his dad was being judged saying, “I just really hope my daddy wins”
The star-studded panel of judges for the event include Guy Farris, Mellisa Crowley, Lee Perkins, Michael Anthony and Lloyd Levine.
Former assembly member,Lloyd Levine, says, “I’m ecstatic to be a judge, I came last year to support the cause because I believe strongly in what they do and I love to cook and eat great food.”
After an intense wait, the winner of the chef challenge was Adam and Noah Pechal.
As Pechal accepted his award he said tearfully, “I am dedicating everything to Adam Rains, who passed away last year, I wish he could have been here, but I think he might have been, because he always told me ‘don’t burn the quail by leaving it in to long,’ and this is the one time I didn’t.”
KCRA 3 news anchor and MC for the night, Edie Lambert, describes the event as, “Sacramento’s Iron Chef, kitchen stadium at the Towe Auto Museum, we will see who reigns supreme in Sacramento.”