Diced in Dayton returns to showcase creativity of local chefs

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Diced in Dayton, a chef’s challenge similar to the Food Network reality series “Chopped,” returns on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Last year marked Miami Valley Meals’ inaugural Diced in Dayton competition showcasing the talent of area chefs. The competition raised funds for the nonprofit organization’s mission to prepare meals for those serving the hungry throughout the Dayton area.

Chefs participating in the competition will receive a mystery box of ingredients a couple days before the event with the freedom to create any small plate they desire. The mystery box will contain a protein, starch, a fresh fruit or vegetable and a fourth ingredient that may be seen as a curveball, said Taylor Naragon, marketing and development director of Miami Valley Meals.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Katy Evans, executive chef at Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City, was last year’s champion.

“My ingredients were pork loin, quinoa, zucchini and yellow squash, and red plums,” Evans said last year during the competition. “The dish I made I called ‘Pork Toast.’ I dry-brined and roasted the pork low and slow, let it rest to a perfect medium, and thinly sliced it. I then made quinoa focaccia bread.”

She further explained her process which included the addition of hot pepper jelly.

“Here at Coldwater, we are well known for our focaccia. So, I cooked the quinoa, cooled it down and mixed it into our focaccia dough, and then rolled it more quinoa for a nice crunch, and topped it with rosemary and sea salt. I then shredded my zucchini and squash, pressed all the water out, and cooked it with lots of fresh herbs, shallots, and garlic. Cooled it down, whipped some good European butter and folded in brie and zucchini mixture. One of our signature sauces we make is our Hot Pepper Jelly. I cooked the red plums down with some nectarines and made a slightly different kind of hot pepper jelly. I think this one is even better. I toasted the quinoa bread, slathered it with the zucchini butter, piled on the deliciously moist pork, and topped it with red plum hot pepper jelly, and a little locally grown micro arugula. Killer.”

Chefs participating in this year’s event include:

  • Gavin St. Denis of Corner Kitchen
  • Patrick Thompson of redBERRY
  • Ashley Ashbrook of Blind Dogs
  • Jasmine Brown of De’Lish Cafe
  • Nick Roudebush of Golden Lamb
  • Gail Corrado Okafor of Bella Sorella Pizza Co.
  • Nate Lansangan of Kung Fu BBQ
  • Waver Howard of Creative Delights Catering/Cruisin’ Cuisine Food Truck
  • Santiago Herrera of Napales Mexican Street Food
  • Gerald Richardson of Rich Taste Catering
  • Aaron Allen of Silas Creative Kitchen

Naragon said they are hoping to have one to four additional chefs participate in the competition.

Diced in Dayton will have a panel of judges voting for their favorite dish in addition to attendees voting for their favorite. The two favorites will compete in a final showdown and a winner will be crowned.

General admission tickets are $75 and includes sample tastings from eight chefs and a vote for your favorite dish. VIP tickets are $150 and includes sample tastings from 12 chefs, a vote for your favorite dish, access to a reserved VIP seating area, two drink tickets, early access to the event, a deck of Dayton Foodie cards and a chance to taste and judge in the final round of the competition.

Last year’s competition raised over $23,000 to support Miami Valley Meals. In 2022, the organization distributed 247,351 meals and partnered with 74 area organizations to feed those in need.

“There’s a lot of people feeding people, but we’re doing it through the chef’s perspective,” Naragon said.

The Diced in Dayton competition is similar to what the chefs at Miami Valley Meals endure every day. Miami Valley Meals receives an unpredictable surplus of food from suppliers and distributors which they transform into new and exciting meals.

Diced in Dayton will be held at Top of the Market, 32 Webster St. in Dayton. For more information, visit www.miamivalleymeals.org or the event’s Facebook page. To purchase tickets, click here.

About the Author