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5th annual cooking competition Epic Chef Showdown benefits Feeding Tampa Bay

The Epic Chef Showdown in 2017 is one of the first stories I wrote for Creative Loafing as an intern. The idea of attending an event like this made me feel privileged that I had the opportunity to go as a member of the media; I felt fancy to say the least. This year, it’s back for its fifth year at The Epicurean Hotel in South Tampa and is partners with Feeding Tampa Bay.

Epic Chef Showdown is a multi-week competition with several chefs from Tampa Bay’s top restaurants. A panel of local celebs and food writers judge the cooking competition. Each week, the chefs receive a mystery box of mismatched ingredients and are challenged to create two unique dishes. The dishes are judged and one restaurant is eliminated. Remaining contestants continue on to other competition dates on July 22, 29th, and August 5th. Semi-finals are on August 12th and 19th followed by the finale on August 26th.

Local restaurants participating include Ichicoro Imoto, The Mill, Mise en Place, Noble Crust, Oxford Exchange, Parkshore Grill, Red Mesa and Rooster & the Till. Chef Jeff Philbin of MasterChef hosts alongside weekly rotating judges including former Bucs player Vincent Jackson, Sheriff Chad Chronister, and local on-air talent like Stacy Schaible(WFLA) and Ian Beckles(WDAE sports radio).

“We’re very proud that this amazing event is now in its fifth year and that each year we’ve been able to expand it to better showcase our incredible partner, Feeding Tampa Bay, and support their mission of bringing awareness to the hunger issues in our community,” said Kevin Scott, general manager of the Epicurean Hotel.

“Heading into our 5th anniversary of Epic Chef Showdown, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the meaningful relationships and conversations the event has created around the mission of hunger relief,” said Thomas Mantz, President & CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay. “Each and every one of us has a connection to food in some way, whether it be a favorite childhood memory, a time when your family pauses from the daily hustle and bustle, or – in the case of our amazing chefs – an art that you share with others. There are many reasons to celebrate food and the very life it gives us all. With the vision of a hunger-free Tampa Bay, we aim to create these memories and moments for hundreds of thousands of families across the Tampa Bay region.”

Epic Chef Showdown events are held inside the Epicurean Theater at the hotel from 6:30pm to 9pm. Limited tickets are available for $250 for 2 ($350 for finale) and includes a meal/wine pairing inspired by the participants and Élevage. Couldn’t get tickets? The competition can be watched on big screens in the lobby area. The event is also live-streamed live via Identity Tampa Bay and their mobile app.

You can purchase tickets here.