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S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition 2013, Mid-Atlantic Regional


The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia played host to the 2013 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition, Mid-Atlantic Regional. Seven students from the various culinary schools in the area competed last Wednesday for a chance to cook in March for the title.

The Winner

Alexxa Grattan of Drexel University took home the regional title with a delicious dish called “Chicken and Biscuits Goes to Town”. We in the audience were served Alexxa’s recipe prepared by the students of The Restaurant School. The dish was rich but balanced with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. This gave the dish a playful texture and a surprise tartness. The biscuit was glutten free. I think what sealed her win was the q&a portion of the competition. Alexxa radiated warmth, energy and enthusiam heightend with a pure delight and passion for her craft.
SanPellegrino_MidAtlantic_Winner_AlexxaGrattan_DishTop Dish of the Night: Chicken and Biscuits Goes to Town


The panel consisted of five chefs and two from the media. Seven judges with one common question for the student competitors. The Question: What is the most important responsiblity of a chef? Alexxa, who was the last competitor to present, nailed the answer because I spied Chef Matthew and Richard Nichols doing the high fives.
During a short break in the competition, I was able to talk to Marcie Turney, chef/owner of the 13th Street and Walnut Midtown Village empire. Chef Turney who is big on technique said judging was difficult because none of the dishes were executed to perfection but she wanted to provide pointers which the students can learn from.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Chef Matthew Tlusty, Arcadia. Richard Nichols. Maureen Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer. Chef Jason Chichonski, Ela. Chef Luigi, Al Tiramisu. Chef Marcie Turney, Barbuzzo. Chef Jay Caputo, Espuma, Rose & Crown and CABO.
Guest tables for friends and family.

The Competitors

Each of these students competed and won at each of their respective schools to qualify for this competition.

(1) Christopher Brons, Stratford University-Baltimore

Dish: Re-invented Bacon Cheeseburger

(2) Alexander Yoon, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College

Dish: Six Spice Venison with Seasonal Produce

(3) Joshua Miller, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Pittsburg

Dish: BBQ Pork

(4) Danielle Shell, Stratford University-Woodridge

Title: People’s Choice
Dish: Duo of Duck

(5) Kelvin Morris, West Virginia Northern Community College

Dish: Lobster and Fines Herb Raviolo with Baby Fennel and Lobster Nage

(6) William Kennedy, Culinary Institute of Virginia-School of Culinary Art at ECPI College of Tech

Dish: Monkfish Mirage

(7) Alexxa Grattan, Drexel University

Title: 2013 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef, Mid-Atlantic Regional Winner
Dish: Chicken and Biscuits Goes to Town

About the Event

The S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef® Competition was founded in 2002 as a mentoring program connecting top culinary students with established chefs and influential media. The program serves as a platform for international culinary schools to showcase their students’ expertise during a fast-paced, high-pressure cooking competition.

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