Last year, 16 Mile Brewery, Standard Distributing and Meals on Wheels partnered with some of southern Delaware’s top chefs to create a competitive culinary series inspired by their favorite Food Network television shows. Start with a basket of mystery ingredients, then, in 30 minutes, create a delicious gourmet plate to be tasted by Delebrity judges. The events were a smash, so this year Meals on Wheels and 16 Mile are moving them north with the help of Out & About Magazine, Premier Wine & Spirits and World Cafe Live at the Queen. Chefs from participating restaurants will be chosen to compete in front of an expert panel of judges. The series winners will compete in a final showdown to determine who is the Top Chef of northern Delaware, who will then go head to head with the southern champion for the title of Throw-Down King or Queen of the First State. The second event in the four-part series takes place May 20 at World Cafe Live at the Queen with live music, a variety of 16 Mile beers, and Premier wines (plus the Queen’s full bar). Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels Delaware. Current restaurant partners include: Two Stones Pub, Chelsea Tavern, Cantwell’s Tavern, Ulysses, Walter’s, Toscana, Ernest & Scott, Kildare’s, Stone Balloon Winehouse, Cafe Gelato, 2 FatGuys American Grill, Home Grown Cafe, Ubon and of course, World Cafe Live at the Queen. And don’t forget about Premier’s Chef Series. With host Mike Whitwell, sommelier for Premier, meet a loval chef, enjoy his or her food, and enjoy hand selected wines and beers from Premier Wine & Spirits. The next one happens at the Limestone Road store on May 1, when you can sample excellent Chilean fare from Wilmington’s hot new Pochi restaurant. Proceeds go the chef’s charity of choice. premierwinespirits.com
Also at World Cafe Live at the Queen, Bourbon and Burgers (and other Fine Spirits) on May 6 serves up exotic burgers by executive chef Joe Deamer, excellent bourbons and talk by a connoisseur and lots of live entertainment. Think grilled cheese and craft brew night, but with beef and hooch pairings instead. Forty-three bucks buys in. 994-1400, queen.worldcafelive.com
Speaking of Delebrity chefs, life has been a whirlwind for Jennifer Behm since she won the title of “MasterChef” during the second season of the popular Fox reality TV series. The celebrity and the half million dollar prize that came with that title have created opportunities for the former Realtor, but it’s Behm’s energy and drive that are pushing her toward further success. “You would think opportunities would come immediately, but you have to go out and take it yourself,” Behm says. “(Winning ‘MasterChef’) does open up doors, but you have to make the initial push.” See what she’s accomplished here.
Who was in on Rehoboth Restaurant Week last year? Let’s say it was nothing short of a who’s who, and it was such a rousing success, it’s back. Restaurant Week 2013 will happen June 2-8. Hit your favorite participating place for a delicious prix fixe dinner of $20 or $30 for three courses. From Italian to Irish to Asian, Latin and something in between—not to mention vegetarian and cutting-edge fare—there’s something for everyone. This year’s lineup isn’t final yet, but expect many return places from last year. They include Adriatico Ristorante & Cafe, a(MUSE.), é, Blue Moon, Cabo Modern Mexican Tequila Bar, Café Azafran, Catchers, Corner Grille, Cultured Pearl, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Dos Locos Fajita & Stonegrill Restaurant, Eden Restaurant, Espuma, Hobo’s Restaurant & Bar, Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant, Jake’s Seafood House, Jam Bistro, Lupo di Mare, Mariachi Restaurant, MIXX, Pig & Fish Restaurant, Planet X Café, Ristorante Zebra, Rigby’s Bar & Grill, Salt Air, Stingray Sushi Bar & Latin Fusion Grill, Stoney Lonen, Summer House and Victoria’s Restaurant. Then keep your eyes on the website for more as the event nears. For more, call 227-2772, or hit downtownrehoboth.com/downtown-happenings/restaurant-week.htm
During the heart of the growing season, about 90 percent of the ingredients utilized at Abbott’s Grill in Milford are grown locally. That’s a lot of product, and a lot of it comes from very close by. “Where we are in this area, there are a lot of opportunities to find farmers,” says chef Ryan Cunningham. He goes to Bob Russell Farms in Milton for tomatoes, Colvine Farms for fresh bison meat. In Bridgeville is grower Kevin Evans, and in Clayton is Small Wonder farm, a hydroponic grower that seeds everything from Bibb lettuce to hybrid squash. Fifer Orchards and Kirby & Holloway are Abbott’s purveyors, as are Dogfish Head, 16 Mile, Tröegs and Evolution breweries.â€¨Yes, the farm-to-table movement has swept the state. Why? Supporting local farms builds communities—and fresh food just plain tastes better. As the season for fresh produce kicks in, we thought it was worth a look back at how our favorite restaurants have followed the trend. Read more here.