An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
May 21, 2014
02:01 PM
The Connecticut Table

‘Chopped’-Style Battle of Chefs in Ridgefield: Food, Fun, Fierce Competition

 ‘Chopped’-Style Battle of Chefs in Ridgefield: Food, Fun, Fierce Competition

Karen Rayda

Chefs Forrest Pasternack of Bailey’s Backyard, Matt Storch of Match Restaurant and Jeff Taibe of The Whelk and LeFarm.

Three local chefs will go toe-to-toe—or, more appropriately, knife-to-knife—in a battle on June 1 that will test their spontaneity, creativity and culinary prowess in support of Founders Hall in Ridgefield.

In a 'Chopped'-style event, Chefs Forrest Pasternack of Bailey's Backyard in Ridgefield, Matt Storch of Match in Norwalk and Jeff Taibe of The Whelk and LeFarm in Westport will open a basket of surprise ingredients and whip up an entrée in just 40 minutes to be judged by a panel of distinguished food experts.

Renowned food writer Jane Stern will emcee the event, and dishes will be judged by Brendan Walsh, dean at the Culinary Institute of America; Stephen Fries, food columnist at the New Haven Register and Denise Michelsen, senior editor of Fine Cooking Magazine.

The battle begins on Sunday, June 1, at 4 p.m. Tickets are still available for this must-see event. There are three levels of seating to view the event: stadium seating at $125 per person, floor seating for $200 per person and a seat at the exclusive tasting table for $500 per person.

Tickets, whose proceeds go to support Founders Hall, give attendees access to the cooking action and so much more.

The day will begin with an open bar and hors d'oeuvres, including appetizers created by the chefs featuring a surprise ingredient they were given, Pekin duck. That takes place in Founders Hall before the action moves out to a tent for the competition.

(The chefs with Founders Hall Executive Director Grace Weber when they learned the secret appetizer ingredient for the appetizers, Pekin duck, right.)

“Everybody who comes to event will taste the appetizer and vote, which will go into the tally of who wins the full battle,” says Laurie Christiansen, communications manager at Founders Hall.

During the battle, the group at the tasting table will get to try the created dishes along with the judges. Everyone else in the audience will be given snacks featuring some of the surprise ingredients in the chefs’ baskets.

Then it’s time for dessert. All amateur and professional bakers were invited to submit a dessert for judging. Prior to the event, the pool was whittled down to three finalists whose desserts will be judged by the panel on the day of the event. A trophy and gift certificates to Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar, courtesy of Sarah Bouissou (left), and a gift certificate to Bartolo, courtesy of Art Michaelson will be given to the winner. Both Bouissou and Michaelson were chefs in last year’s competition and will judge this year's dessert competition.

There will also be a live raffle for a fourth seat on the judging panel. The three desserts created by the finalists in the dessert competition will be included in a silent auction and dinner for two at each of the battling chefs’ restaurants will be raffled.

Copies of Jane Stern’s books and “Fairfield County Chef’s Table,” the new book by the team behind CTBites, will be available for sale and signing. 

Check out our recent story on "Fairfield County Chef's Table" by Amy Kundrat and Stephanie Webster here. 

There will be a lot to see, do and taste at the Battle of the Chefs on June 1. For tickets call Founders Hall at 203-431-7000 or go to their website at

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‘Chopped’-Style Battle of Chefs in Ridgefield: Food, Fun, Fierce Competition

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