Country Chef Challenge at the Minneapolis Farmers Market: Wadi vs. Riebel

Country Chef Challenge pits chefs from Saffron and Butcher & the Boar
Country Chef Challenge pits chefs from Saffron and Butcher & the Boar

This weekend, the knives come out at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Local chefs Sameh Wadi and Jack Riebel will go head to head in a market cook-off using whatever is in season and available at the market. With both chefs well versed in competition, it should make for a food throw-down not to be missed.

The Country Chef Challenge is a national event sponsored by Country Financial. Minneapolis is one of four cities to host the event, along with Portland, Oregon, Chicago, and Olathe, Kansas.

Sameh Wadi is the man behind the acclaimed Middle Eastern dinner spot Saffron in Minneapolis and the World Street Kitchen food truck. Wadi also participated in an episode of Iron Chef America, going up against famed Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto. Although Wadi did not win, he has continued to receive attention on the national stage. Chef Wadi has been a mutli-James Beard Award nominee, including last year when he was the semi-finalist for the James Beard Rising Star Award.

Chef Jack Riebel is the owner of Butcher & the Boar, the pork and bourbon capital of Minneapolis, which has garnered outstanding reviews from local food critics. Riebel is also no stranger to culinary competition. He won Minnesota Monthly's Local Chef Challenge in 2010 and took first place at the 2011 Minnesota Pork Board's Taste of Elegence pork culinary competition.

The Country Chef Challenge will last 50 minutes, plus judging. The chefs will each have 20 minutes to shop the market and 30 minutes to prepare a dish, which will be judged on taste, creativity, and, according to the press release, "adaptability to re-creation by a panel of celebrity judges."

Sitting on the judges panel will be WCCO-TV weekend anchors Matt Brickman and Jamie Yuccas; Lee Dean, Taste editor for the Star Tribune; and food blogger Stephanie Meyer.

The competition will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and will be emceed by Paul Koffy of BUZ'N 102.9.

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