Tonawanda News — Beginning Feb. 24, Artisan Kitchens & Baths in Buffalo will play host to the who’s who of Western New York chefs for the fifth season of the Nickel City Chef competition.
For those unfamiliar with the event, Nickel City Chef is roughly based on the “Iron Chef” competition on the Food Network. Each competition features one existing Nickel City Chef — who holds the title until they decide to retire — and one challenging chef. Both must represent a Western New York restaurant and must have a strong culinary background.
“We choose who we think would fare best in the competition,” NCC founder Christa Glennie Seychew said of the selection process. “We would never want to put someone in who would not perform as well as the Nickel City Chef.”
The two chefs — and their sous chefs — square off in front of a live audience and must create three dishes based on one secret, locally sourced ingredient. They have one hour to complete the three dishes and serve them to a panel of judges. The chef who has the best score wins bragging rights and perhaps an increase in business at their respective restaurant.
This year marks the fifth season of NCC and only the second time a Niagara County chef will be taking the stage with the addition of Jason LaMotte, of The Conference & Event Center in Niagara Falls.
“Having Jason this year is great,” said Seychew, explaining that the selection committee was impressed that he had worked with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and won a coveted Michelin Star while working in Europe.
“Coupled with this idea he has of trying to integrate food from Niagara County farms into the convention center menu,” Seychew said LaMotte seemed like an interesting choice to pit against NCC Brian Mietus of Bacchus.
“They’re both very classically trained,” Seychew said, adding that the two are matched both in style and execution.