Gloves to Come Off in East vs. West Chefs Bout at EDWINS

Food and wine events tend to be stuffy, somber affairs that leave guests ducking out the back door long before the night’s official end. (Guilty!)

That’s the exact opposite of what Brandon Chrostowski has planned for the inaugural East vs. West competition going down at EDWINS restaurant on April 11. The culinary fracas pits East Side chefs against West Side chefs in a feisty, lively atmosphere that is taking its cues from a boxing match.

“We just wanted to have some fun, kick back and enjoy great food and wine,” says Chrostowski. “To keep up the spirit of a boxing match we’re going to have an announcer announce each course as if it were a round, ring people walking around with large signs, and a bell that rings before each course.”

The event announcement is modeled after a boxing match flyer and live music will keep the mood celebratory.

The evening starts with a pair of hors d'oeuvres from two chefs. After that, each of six chefs will offer up a course, for a total of six courses (each paired with wine). Each course will be scored both by guests and celebrity judges, this writer included, using a boxing-style score card. To the victor goes the honors, and, quite possibly, a belt or trophy that gets passed back and forth following future battles.

In this corner, representing the East Side, are Douglas Katz of Fire Food and Drink, Jonathan Bennett of Moxie, Chris Hodgson of Hodge's and Paul Minnillo and Matthew Mytro of Flour. In this corner, representing the West Side, are Dante Boccuzzi of Dante, Steve Schimoler of Crop Bistro, Mike Nowak of The Black Pig and Ben Bebenroth of Spice Kitchen.

EDWINS is giving each chef $1,000 per course for product, which is not only rare for events like these, but it also all but guarantees some pretty spectacular dishes.

“Chefs in this town are hit up so many times over, they shouldn’t have to donate everything every time,” Chrostowski says.

Tickets ($135 + tax) are going fast. Call the restaurant at 216-921-3333 to reserve your seat.

“It’s a spirited event involving Cleveland that tries to facilitate great chefs, letting them cook and letting the guests enjoy the rewards of that energy and experience,” he says, adding, “There will be drinking involved too.”

In the spirit of friendly competition, Chrostowski might be fanning the flames of some East vs. West rabble-rousing.

“I encourage trash talk, and I hope the chefs get into it on social media.”

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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