Competition crowns ‘Best Chef in Dayton’ — well, actually, two of them

The ballots are tabulated, and we now know which local chefs will wear the crowns as “People’s Choice Best Chef” and “Judges’ Best Chef” in Dayton — at least until next year.

The Dayton March of Dimes Signature Chefs event held Monday night at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton named Chris Alexander from Kroger's East Stroop Road store in Kettering as "People's Choice Best Chef" for the second consecutive year, while Brian Griffey of NCR Country Club captured "Judges' Best Chef" award. A dozen local chefs served specialties at the event.

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Alexander’s winning dish was a Mushroom and Spinach Chicken Roulade with Sweet Potato Gnocchi and a Chipotle Cream Sauce.

A 2002 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Alexander collected plenty of local restaurant experience before he joined Kroger in 2009, including stints at the former C’est Tout, Blue Moon and l’Auberge. Before attending culinary school, he worked in restaurants and resorts in New Orleans and the British Virgin Islands. He has been with Kroger since 2009.

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Griffey’s artfully plated dish consisted of Green Peppercorn-Cured and Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon with Beer-Black Truffle Tapenade, Saffron Aioli and Micro-Beet Greens.

Griffey attended Baltimore International Culinary College and worked at Bravo Italian Kitchen and Truffles Cafe. From 2007-2017, Griffey served as chef de cuisine at the former Rue Dumaine, alongside James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Anne Kearney, before stepping down in January 2017 to take a position as Chef de Cuisine at NCR Country Club.

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This was the 15th year of the Signature Chefs Auction event, which for several years running has drawn a sellout crowd of between 350 and 400 people. Last year’s event drew more than 350 guests and raised $152,000.

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(Disclosure: I served as one of the five judges for the Judges’ Award Signature Chefs event. The panel included Chef Dana Downs, owner of Roost Italian restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District; Paula Johnson, contributing food writer to Edible Ohio Valley; Sallie Taylor, co-host of “Living Dayton” on WDTN-TV; and Cheryl Shimmin, director of culinary and nutrition care for Kettering Health Network.)

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