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Oklahoma City Chef Danh Do Wins Statewide Culinary Cook-off

October 1, 2018 Photos from the 2018 Culinary Cook-off

Oklahoma City Chef Danh Do Wins Statewide Culinary Cook-off
Midtown chef takes home top culinary award during industry trade show

Chef Danh Do of GOGi Go! in Oklahoma City took first place in 21st annual Culinary Cook-Off at the Oklahoma Restaurant Convention & Expo on September 27, 2018.

Do had 60 minutes to prepare an appetizer and an entree using mystery basket items that included green-boned New Zealand Butterfish and buffalo tenderloin. His final presentation earned him a $3,000 cash prize, a trophy, and gift certificates. He was assisted by Alyssa Dickman, a Culinary Arts student at Platt College in Oklahoma City, who earned a $250 cash prize, a medal, and gift certificates. 

Do competed against 11 other Oklahoma chefs in the annual cook-off, an Iron Chef-style competition in which the most talented chefs in the state race the clock to create dazzling dishes using a mystery basket of ingredients. The competitors participate in various heats until the contest is narrowed down to the last two chefs. 

Do’s competitor in the final round was Chef Michael Paske of Cafe 7 at Love's. Paske’s second place spot earned him $1,500, a trophy and gift certificates, and his assistant Hayden Hilsabeck, a chef at Scratch Paseo won a $150 cash prize, a medal, and gift certificates. Chef Chad Epley of VAST placed third and took home a cash prize of $750, a trophy, and gift certificates; Epley’s student assistant Caleb Mohr of OSUIT earned $100, a medal, and gift certificates. Taking home fourth place was Chef Tyler Whitson of Kitchen27 in Tulsa and his assistant James Jones of Platt College, who took home $375 and $50, respectively.   

“For 21 years we've been showcasing the talent among Oklahoma chefs and they never cease to amaze me,” said Zena Dater of Market Source Restaurant Supply and founder of the Culinary Cook-off. “It's amazing to see so many fresh new chefs emerging and we just want to show them off.”

In addition to Do, Paske, Epley, and Whitson, participating chefs included Timothy Abell, The Jones Assembly, Oklahoma City; Matthew Collins, The Manhattan, Oklahoma City; Theron Jessop, Traditions Spirits, Davis; Cole Landry, Brent's Cajun Seafood & Oyster Bar, Edmond; Jeff Waddle, Renaissance Hotel Oklahoma City; Saul Paniagua, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa; Shane Roel, The Hutch on Avondale, Nichols Hills; and James Whyman, Oklahoma State Fair.

Judges consisted of a panel of industry professionals, including Chef Kurt Fleischfresser of Western Concepts; Robert Black, Springboard; Mark Vannasdall, Executive Chef for Traditions Spirits and Chickasaw Nation; and David Cathey of The Oklahoman.

Greg Elwell, food blogger of IAteOklahoma and writer for Oklahoma Today magazine; Amanda Simcoe, host of “Tasting Oklahoma;” and Alan Zeman, Executive Chef for Rational USA, served as the event’s emcees. Eddie Hartwick of Sonic Drive-In coordinated all food and directed the Mystery Baskets.

During the 2-day competition, chefs had the help of culinary students from Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Tulsa Technology Center, OSU IT, and The Culinary Institute at Platt College. In addition to how well they utilized their assistant during the competition, participants were judged on plate presentation, creativity, product taste, and sanitation practices. 

The Culinary Cook-Off was made possible by Market Source; Auto-Chlor System; Ben E. Keith Foods; Buckhead Meats; Carlisle Foodservice Products;  Freshpoint; Kelly Brokerage; Oklahoma Pork Council; Rational USA; Southern Glazer’s; Superior Linen Service; Super Cao Nguyen; Thirst Wine Merchants; and US Foods. 
 
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