The Rapidian

Four local chefs to compete for title, bragging rights

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On June 24, from 7-10 p.m., the Grand Rapids Downtown Market will host their first-ever “Market Masters presented by KitchenAid,” an Iron Chef-style competition pitting four teams of Downtown Market chefs and sous chefs against each other.
Evan Talen, Chris McKellar, Ryan Hardin, Michael Dewicki compete in the Market Master's Competition

Evan Talen, Chris McKellar, Ryan Hardin, Michael Dewicki compete in the Market Master's Competition /Courtesy of the Downtown Market

Underwriting support from:

/Courtesy of the Downtown Market

/Courtesy of the Downtown Market

On June 24, from 7 to 10 p.m., the Grand Rapids Downtown Market will host their first-ever “Market Masters presented by KitchenAid,” an Iron Chef-style competition pitting four teams of Downtown Market chefs and sous chefs against each other in a three-round, live cooking contest. Only one winner will emerge from the rivalries as “Market Master.”

Like “Iron Chef,” each timed round will have a secret ingredient that the chefs must include as they develop their appetizer, main course or dessert recipes...on the spot. A video crew will produce the event as it is happening so guests can also view the live action on the big screens.

Chefs competing for the Market Masters title on June 24 are:

  • Chris McKellar (Love’s Ice Cream) with sous chef Shelby Kibler (Field & Fire)

  • Ryan Hardin (Fish Lads) with sous chef Jeff Butzow (Fish Lads)

  • Evan Talen (Aperitivo) with sous chef Megan Clawson (Aperitivo)

  • Michael Dewicki (Downtown Market Teaching Kitchen) with sous chef Matt Overdevest (private chef)

Local celebrity judges will rate each contestant’s efforts and choose two teams from the first two rounds to move on to the finals. Judges include Peter Secchia; Eddie Tadlock, Assistant GM (SMG) of DeVos Place; Chef Angus Campbell, from Secchia Institute of Culinary Arts and Maggie Thiel, sous chef at Beacon Hill at Eastgate. Each round will also bring up a guest judge from the audience, who will sit with the panel of judges and help to taste and rate each participant’s dish from that round. Jordan Plumstead, a high schooler from East Grand Rapids who appeared on the debut season of Food Network’s “Chopped Jr.,” will serve as floor commentator for the competition. 

Market Masters is hosted by Chef Amy Sherman of “Behind the Mitten” and the “Great American Brew Trail,” and founder of West Michigan FarmLink and the local Slow Food chapter. Sherman has most recently been involved in MLive’s “Michigan’s Best” series.

“The Downtown Market is a chef’s dream, with the combination of their state-of-the-art Teaching Kitchen, Incubator Kitchen, and Demonstration spaces,” said Mike Huie, Global Kitchenware Director of KitchenAid, who will also be a guest judge for one round of competition. “We were thrilled to sponsor this event knowing it will cater to that passionate group that speaks the same language of hand-crafted food like we do, loves the enjoyment found in cooking like we do, and recognizes the importance of giving back to the community like we do.”

Market Masters tickets include a glass of bubbly, appetizers from Downtown Market favorites and an evening of entertainment. A cash bar will also be available, featuring fresh, specialty cocktails made with local spirits, as well as local brews and wine.

“What better way to get to know your favorite local chefs, than watching them wage a battle of wits…and knives?” said Sherman. “This competition will be three hours of comedy, drama, suspense and great local food, produced live before your eyes.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Downtown Market Education Foundation, which supports culinary and nutritional education, entrepreneur opportunities and local food production, with the goal of creating a healthier community lifestyle, The foundation supports access to, and promotion of, fresh healthy foods for all, including disadvantaged families and children.

Tickets are available at http://downtownmarketgr.com/marketmasters.

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