6/18/2013 01:45:00 PM

Uchi’s 86’d Finale Competition Heats Up the Night

Last night some very talented back-of-house staff from restaurants Sway, Congress and Foreign & Domestic cooked some tasty-looking appetizers, entrees and desserts for a panel of intimidating chef judges. It was the final round of 86’d, Uchi’s version of ChoppedWe covered the fourth semifinal round in depth, from the first ingredient bag ripped open to the last word from the judges.

Here are the highlights from last night. Judge Aaron Franklin from Franklin Barbecue poked his fork at judge Josh Watkins from the Carillon, who was sharing his dish, and joked, “Get out of my way.” Judge Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants ate all of the pork belly off the top of Congress’s John Hajash’s dish in the appetizer round, leaving judge Mat Clouser of Swift’s Attic in the cold. Sway’s Joaquin Ceballas stabbed himself with an errant pheasant bone in the entree round and had to resort to wearing a glove, a la Michael Jackson. Sway’s pastry chef Laura Sawicki shouted “Waka waka waka” for Joaquin as he presented his dishes to the judges.

Uchi/Uchiko pastry chef Philip Speer dashingly emceed the event, at one point asking Hajash how he smoked the vinegar he used in his pheasant breast entree. “Uh, it was already smoked, “replied Hajash.

Oh, wait. You wanted to hear about the competition? Brandon Martin from Foreign & Domestic was eliminated in the first round for his rabbit roulade with carrot relish and pork belly jus. The second round came down to a tie between Chase Gintner and Joaquin Ceballas, both from Sway, but Gintner lost that battle and Ceballas went on to compete in the dessert round. The last man standing was Hajash, from Congress, for his remarkable dessert using lemongrass, kaffir lime, lardo and Pure Luck feta cheese. As a surprise, all of the contestants were awarded with a stage at various restaurants, as well as stipends for travel and expenses. Hajash's took home an impressive stage at two New York restaurants, Atera and Ma Peche, and $2,250 for travel expenses.

Guests enjoyed treats from Uchiko, Uchi, Café Josie, Kome, and Olive and June, as well as sips from Jester King Brewery and select wines. HausBar Farms provided the produce for the competition.

All told, it was an impressive night. And expect to see more of them, since Speer recently told us that the team will be hosting the competition twice a year. We can’t wait to see what crazy ingredients they cook up, and what new talent Austin has brewing. For now, check out our slideshow of the evening below.


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