Block & Blade Restaurant and Bar was heralded as the first-place winner in this year’s culinary competition, marking a step up from their second-place finish the previous year. The establishment’s entry, “Bring The Beet On- Block’s Chicken & Waffles,” conceived by Chefs Noel Soriano & Zuriel De Guzman, captivated judges with its innovative combination of crispy chicken atop Belgian waffles, beautifully complemented by beet compote, mascarpone, pickled onions and cucumbers, dill weed, and pea shoots, showcasing the chefs’ exceptional culinary skills and creativity.
James Avenue Pumphouse Food & Drink earned the runner-up position with the “Monsieur Croque,” a visually appealing creation by Chef Mark Merano. This reinterpretation of the traditional croque monsieur featured marinated buttermilk fried chicken nestled between slices of cheesy garlic challah, enhanced with chipotle honey mustard, bacon, a creamy mornay sauce, parmesan cheese, and a honey drizzle, winning over many with its taste and presentation.
In an unprecedented turn of events, the competition saw a tie for third place, emphasizing the critical nature of each vote. Tommy’s Pizzeria and Damecca Lounge were recognized for their exceptionally inventive entries, which pushed the boundaries of flavor and enjoyment, reflecting the dynamic and innovative spirit of the local culinary community.
An honorable mention was given to @MealSetBistro for their “Bao Down” dish, which garnered acclaim among chicken lovers, further showcasing the diversity and depth of culinary talent within the community.
As the competition concluded, it highlighted the remarkable talent and creativity prevalent in the province’s and city’s food scene. The event serves as a reminder to support local restaurants and explore the culinary excellence available regionally. The anticipation for next year’s competition and the celebration of more exceptional local cuisine continues to grow. Meanwhile, the community is encouraged to support and champion local dining establishments.
Photo credit: Fried Chicken Fest Facebook Page