Tonawanda News

Local News

January 21, 2013

This season's Nickel City Chef lineup includes Niagara, Tonawanda chefs


Tonawanda News — For his part, LaMotte said he’s looking forward to his March 24 showdown against Mietus, especially after competing in the NCC Firing Line competition (akin to the Food Network’s “Chopped) a few months ago.

“There’s a whole lot of people applying for the competition,” LaMotte said. “It’s definitely a surprise and an honor to get picked.”

LaMotte said he plans to show off his background as a chef in New Orleans, but mostly wants the ingredients to stand for themselves. In the end he’s not overly concerned with winning or losing.

“Less is more. If I have carrots, I want them taste like carrots,” he said. “The fundamentals of cooking is what people have gotten away from, like proper knife cuts.”

“I’m just hoping to perform the best I can and hopefully don’t embarrass myself,” he added.

Meanwhile, Feb. 24 will pit friend against friend in the competition between JJ Richert — who together with his brother and competition sous chef, Kevin, are chef owners of Kenmore’s Torches and the City of Tonawanda’s Smoke on the Water — and Ristorante Lombardo’s Michael Obarka.

“I’m going to be able to take on one of the best chefs in Buffalo,” Obarka said, admitting he’s a pretty competitive person.

“It’s not really daunting, because I’ve known JJ since we were both thin and young,” he added with a laugh.

Richert said that because he knows Obarka’s techniques so well — “he doesn’t really go for a lot of flashy type things,” he said — he’s planning well in advance how to take on the competition. 

“I think we’ll definitely have to make a pasta from scratch, or something along those lines,” he said. 

Richert said he and sous chef Kevin always push the limits of what they normally cook and what they can finish in the amount of time given. 

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