9th Annual Worcester’s Best Chef Competition
Congratulations to this year's winners! (Winning raffle ticket numbers who weren't present are also listed below.)
Iron Chef Champion
- Chef William Nemeroff, The International, Bolton
1. Chef Chris Anthony Bairos, Amaia Martini Bar, Hudson
2. Chef Ken Zhang, Yummy’s Japanese Steakhouse, Worcester
3. Chef William Nemeroff, The International, Bolton
1. Chef Adam Hicks, Depot Street Tavern, Milford
2. Chef Shane Anderson, Eller’s Restaurant, Cherry Valley
3. Chef Ken Yukimura, Sturbridge Seafood, Sturbridge
Winner: Tantasqua Regional High School
Runner-Up: Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School
WXLO Perfect Palate Award
- Chef Rick Araujo, Civic Kitchen & Drink, Westboro
Winning Raffle Tickets*
*If you purchased one of the raffle tickets above, please pick up your raffle basket from Pepper's Catering in Northborough. Please contact Pepper's in advance to arrange pick-up by calling: 508.393.6844. Thank you, and congratulations!
Thank you for the opportunity to be part of WBC again. As you know it was a long day, but the students were exhilarated about their being part of such an event. You are a very generous man and have become the “godfather” of the Hospitality Cluster at Tantasqua. When we said yes a year ago, I had no idea what it would entail and I am glad we said yes. The students and teachers who have benefited from participating come back with great memories and education into the industry.
Including Bay Path this year was a treat for me, because I saw the same excitement with Marcie and her students. At around 4:30 she texted, “this is a blast, really appreciate being asked”. Her students had a great time. I cannot thank you enough for caring about our program and our students. Know that you have made a difference in many people’s lives with your generosity. It is much appreciated!
Mark A. Wood
Tantasqua Regional High School/Technical Division
Thank you so much for letting us join your event! My students all got so much pleasure from the day. They really enjoyed the watching and presenting the chefs creations; they loved working with Tantasqua's students; and they were thrilled at the response to their desserts. Please thank Fabio from all of us; it means a lot.
I hope to see you soon for Team Chef!
Culinary Arts Instructor
WHEN: Sunday, January 31, 2016
TIME: VIP- 4pm; General Admission- 5pm - 8pm
WHERE: Historic Mechanics Hall
For 9 years, the Worcester’s Best Chef Competition has been promoting the Central Massachusetts area as a culinary destination for foodies. With its vast array of offerings, Central Massachusetts is rich with culinary expertise and creativity, and it has more than enough talent to be considered a destination city equal to Boston, Providence, Hartford, Portland, and many others. WBC’s goal--since inception--has always been to showcase that talent.
Recently, WBC organizers have taken the event in a new, fun, and engaging direction, one that introduces many unique attributes and experiences to our foodie community and truly showcases to our crowd of 1,000+ foodies the culinary genius of chefs not just from Worcester, but from all over Central Massachusetts, Springfield, and Connecticut.
At WBC, there are two categories of competition: Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice. As part of the People’s Choice Award, guests receive a wristband at registration with three tabs (numbered 1, 2, 3). After tasting through the wonderful dishes, guests drop their #1 tab in their favorite chef’s red box, their #2 table in their second choice chef’s box, etc. The results are tabulated by on-site staff from the CPA firm of Houssan & Ojerholm, PC and are announced on stage by our Masters of Ceremonies, Jen Carter and Rick Brackett from the WXLO Morning Show.
The Judges’ Choice Award is granted by the 7-member panel of judges, who vote their top 3 choices. Those 3 chefs are then invited on stage to compete live, Iron Chef-style, in front of the full crowd, on Thermador cook tops provided by Hudson Appliance. It all culminates in an exciting, suspenseful decision by judges as to which of the three will become Worcester’s Best Chef.
Jen Carter of the 104.5 FM WXLO morning show and XLO afternoon host Rick Brackett will be your Masters of Ceremonies beginning at the 5 o'clock hour.
Paying It Forward
Another objective of the event is to assist in the development of up-and-coming chefs. Since its start 9 years ago, the event has hosted high school culinary students who interact with and shadow the competing chefs. The students also receive a donation at the end of each year’s event. Last year, Tantasqua Regional High School’s Culinary Arts program was invited to share in the event alongside Worcester Technical High School’s Culinary Arts students. Both schools showed very well, but Tantasqua garnered more votes for the People’s Choice Student Dessert category. And, with the proceeds that were donated to Tantasqua, the culinary department was able to purchase expensive and much-needed kitchen equipment.
The Culinary Arts Program at Tantasqua Regional Senior High School maintains an articulation agreement with Holyoke Community College as well as Johnson& Wales University. First-year students cover shop safety, proper hygiene, food-handling safety, and tool and equipment identification. In year two, students learn basic knife techniques, baking, and food preparation. In year three, students experience food production from preparation to serving in the school's public dining room, the Cornerstone Café. As juniors, students study and test for Servsafe certification in order to refine their knowledge of food-handling safety. Seniors refine skills learned in their junior year: developing and costing menus, preparing, executing, and serving. Upon program completion, Tantasqua Culinary Arts students are prepared for a post-secondary education in their field or to assimilate into the foodservice industry.
Tantasqua students will be back this year along with newcomer Bay Path Regional High School.
Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School serves students from its member Worcester County communities of Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, N. Brookfield, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Spencer, Southbridge, and Webster. Their culinary program (about 100 students) has five chef instructors in a real-world restaurant experience. Servicing two restaurants, the Teachers Café and the public Hilltop Restaurant as well as many various outside catering events, the students are exposed to a wide variety of tasks. They are excited to participate in Worcester’s Best Chef as their students can shadow some of the area's brightest stars.
Each school will be vying to take home the People’s Choice Award for Best Student Dessert.
A Farming We Will Go
This year, WBC will host local farmers who are all part of Central Mass Grown. Each farmer will bring his/her fresh produce, honey, preserves, or dry-aged beef to showcase for the foodie crowd. These farmers are vital to our community, and many of them have created Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, in which foodies can participate throughout the year. In addition--as many of our chefs create farm-to-table menus--these much-needed farmers are the source of the ingredients for your favorite chef’s signature dishes.
At WBC, you’ll enjoy luxury and convenience. Historic Mechanics Hall is a vibrant and classic concert hall overflowing with charm, character, and sophistication. It is the preferred location for entertainers of world-wide fame and significance, and at WBC, you’ll feel like one of them. Valet parking, a paparazzi photo mob, balcony seating, coffee baristas, wine tastings courtesy of Julio’s Liquors in Westboro, craft beer tastings courtesy of Harpoon, Blue Moon, Sam Adams and Wachusett Brewery, and a full cash bar are also part of the evening.
Come one, come all, and bring your appetite!
What does a VIP ticket get?
Opening Program Master of Ceremony Christina Andrianopoulos, producer and talk show host of City Vibes Metro, will host the VIP hour.
VIP ticketholders enjoy a relaxing hour strolling through and interacting with chefs one-on-one, discovering their signature dishes and coveted culinary secrets from 4pm until 5pm before the event opens to the general public. Listen to the jazz trio "Players to Be Named Later" as you indulge in all the delicious samples at your own relaxing pace.
What Else is on Tap During VIP?
We have a fantastic demo on the schedule by none other than Master Chef Wilson Wang of Baba Sushi. A previous winner at WBC and voted among the top 9 sushi chefs nationwide, Chef Wang will be performing his mesmerizing sushi demo right in front of your eyes. Get up close and personal with this Sushi God at WBC.