Hop Chef Puts the City’s Top Culinary Talent on Tap Tonight

Ho Chefs (L to R): Eli Kulp, Nick Macri, Lucio Palazzo, Pat Szoke, Mike Deganis, Yun Fuentes
Ho Chefs (L to R): Eli Kulp, Nick Macri, Lucio Palazzo, Pat Szoke, Mike Deganis, Yun FuentesPhoto: HughE Dillon

Though the potty-talk that last year’s Hop Chef’testants punctuated our Twitter feeds with in the run-up to Brewery Ommegang’s inaugural beer-fueled cook-off has been replaced this year with smack about who uses offset tweezers in the kitchen, and other more prosy posturing, it’s safe to say that the culinary talent lined up is no less formidable. On tap for tonight’s showdown at Union Transfer — some tickets remain available — are JG Domestic’s Yun Fuentes, La Calaca Feliz’s Lucio Palazzo, Southwark’s Nick Macri, The Industry’s Pat Szoke, Fork’s Eli Kulp and Alla Spina’s Mike Deganis. We’re hoping the lack of shit-talk means they’re all too busy cooking to be tweeting.

For the competition each of the six chefs will cook one dish each to showcase their ability to pair food with one of six Ommegang beers. Dishes and corresponding beers will be presented to attendees and judges, and each chef will get the chance to explain and defend their creation. Dishes will be judged on: Simple Pairing, a direct interaction between food and beer; Incorporation, utilizing beer in the cooking process; Mimicking, matching the flavor profile of a dish with the flavor profile of a beer; Story Telling, tracing the history of the dish and the beer; and Experimental, making beer the star of the dish. The winning chef will then go on to represent Philadelphia in a national cook-off at Brewery Ommegang during its annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival in August.