published Friday, August 12th, 2011

Chefs sharpen knives, wits for Chattanooga Market cooking contest


What: FiveStar Food Fight at Chattanooga Market.

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: First Tennessee Pav-ilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd.

Admission: Free.

Phone: 266-4041.



* Atlanta artist Julie Gribble will perform from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Gribble is a traditional Americana/country artist who tells modern stories of life, love and relationships.

Something big is cooking at Chattanooga Market.

“It’s the FiveStar Food Fight, and for ‘foodies’ it’s an especially exciting day,” Chattanooga Market general manager Paul Smith said of this Sunday’s contest. The eighth annual event features five area chefs who will compete in a cook-off that involves very specific rules.

“It’s like the ‘Iron Chef’ competition on TV, except that this is real life and everybody at the Chattanooga Market gets to interact with the chefs while they are cooking,” Smith said. “It’s fun to watch.”

According to Smith, each of the chefs will be given a secret ingredient that they must use in a recipe to be prepared in an on-site kitchen set up with FiveStar cooking ranges, a longtime market sponsor. Each chef will be given $40 and one hour to purchase fresh vegetables, cheeses, spices, breads and other offerings from vendors at the market. They will have one hour to prepare their recipes and present them to a panel of judges.

“You don’t have to be a cook to enjoy watching all this take place, because it’s interesting and fun,” Smith said. “We tell them what they will be cooking, and they do it.”

This year’s judges are Rick Hansard, Coca-Cola Bottling; Dale Smith, Village Volkswagen; Jeff Essenberg and Jenny Rumble, FiveStar Ranges; and Justin Edders, Earth Fare.

Though the judges will be the only ones who sample the recipes, marketgoers will get to see the accomplished chefs at work. Their recipes will be published on the market’s website,

First-time Food Fight contestant Nick Goeller, chef at 212 Market Restaurant, said he is excited about the competition.

“It will be interesting to see what I come up with in such a short notice, but, in a way, it’s what I do on a daily basis, but not in a competitive setting. I come into work every day, and I walk into the cooler to see what farmers have brought in. It’s fun to see the dishes I come up with.”

Smith said it’s fascinating what the chefs can create on such short notice.

“It’s an art form, and getting to watch some of the best food artists in town is one of my favorite events at Chattanooga Market,” he said. “Just the amount of talent it takes to make such fantastic recipes in a short amount of time is amazing.”


Nick Goeller

* Restaurant: 212 Market.

* Years cooking: 17.

* Specialty: “I’m good at seafood and Southeastern Caribbean-style dishes.”

* Favorite local vegetable: Savoy cabbage.

* Favorite local fruit: Figs.

Jericho Michel

* Restaurant: Terminal Brewhouse.

* Years cooking: 13.

* Specialty: Sauces, chutneys.

* Favorite local vegetable: “I’m still figuring out the vegetable scene here.”

* Favorite local fruit: Peaches.

Jon Mills

* Restaurant: Lupi’s Pizza.

* Years cooking: 7.

* Specialty: “I was trained French classical, but Italian is my food love.”

* Favorite local vegetable: “Heirloom tomatoes from Crabtree are out of this world.”

* Favorite local fruit: Peaches.

Wolfgang Poe

* Restaurant: Wisteria Cafe.

* Years cooking: 20-plus.

* Specialty: “Classic Southern food.”

* Favorite local vegetable: Heirloom tomatoes.

* Favorite local fruit: Peaches.

Anna Gipe-Scott

* Catering company: Jaded Root.

*Years cooking: 15.

* Specialty: Using local products.

* Favorite local vegetable: “I prepare many vegetarian and vegan dishes and gluten-free goodies.”

* Favorite local fruit: “I have no favorite, [but] I can personally help get the word out that local is better. All of our local farmers rock.”

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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