Epic Chef Showdown returns with a fresh lineup of kitchen faceoffs

For a third year, a box of mystery ingredients will drive the annual cooking competition in Tampa.

click to enlarge Over seven weeks, Epic Chef Showdown's panel of judges will change weekly. - Courtesy of Epicurean Hotel
Courtesy of Epicurean Hotel
Over seven weeks, Epic Chef Showdown's panel of judges will change weekly.

The Epicurean Hotel's Epic Chef Showdown returns to Tampa next month with a fresh lineup of kitchen faceoffs.

Kicking off July 10 with The Mill vs. Locale Market/FarmTable Kitchen, the third annual cooking competition has eight local restaurants battle it out over seven weeks — two chefs at a time — to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay. Mise en Place, Ava, Rooster & the Till, Armani's, Parkshore Grill and Noble Crust are the other participating eateries set to throwdown at the on-site Epicurean Theatre.

The chefs are asked to prepare one-of-a-kind dishes from a box of mystery ingredients during every round. Their plates are then sampled and critiqued by a panel of judges, who determine which restaurant gets eliminated and which one moves onto the next round.

Rotating weekly, judges include Food Network's "Retro Rad Chef" Emily Ellyn, MasterChef Season 8 competitor Jeff Philbin and NFL player Vincent Jackson.

A limited number of tickets, which can be purchased online, are available, and admission includes a coursed meal with wine pairings inspired by the participants and the hotel's restaurant, Élevage. But spectators without tickets can also watch the competition live from the lobby, where each round is broadcasted on big-screen TVs, or through Feeding Tampa Bay's Facebook page.

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