Food News

Calling All Chefs: Chef vs. Chef Returns to Delray Beach This Summer

What do you get when you pit more than a dozen South Florida chefs against one another for a 16-week throw-down-style culinary battle? You get the second installment of the now-annual Chef vs. Chef competition in Delray Beach, that's what.

Get ready to see some of your favorite chefs do incredible things with ingredients you can venture to guess will be even more bizarre than the whole gator, lamb's head, frog legs, and sea sperm they were dealt last year. And watch them do those incredible things in just one hour of adrenaline-fueled, timed competition. 

The inaugural bracket-style showdown was originally inspired by the Esquire Network show Knife Fights according to event creators Dennis Max and Eric Baker, the restaurateur-chef duo who devised a local version that would serve to raise money for a local charity while also showcasing some of South Florida's best kitchen talent. 

This year, Chef vs. Chef returns to Max's Harvest in Delray Beach's Pineapple Grove, slated to kick off Wednesday, June 15, with a draw party that will decide the brackets for the 16-week competition. As both host and event sponsor, Max’s Harvest is calling all South Florida chefs who think they have what it takes to compete against the area’s top culinary stars.

"[This event] is one of the most talked-about, exciting culinary events of the summer," says Max, co-owner of Max’s Harvest. "We feel South Florida is home to some of the nation's best chefs, and we are delighted to bring back this competition for a second year, all while supporting a local charity."

During Chef vs. Chef, each of the 16 competing chefs will be given three secret ingredients that will be used to prepare two to three dishes within a one-hour timed competition. Each event will be judged by select members of the local community who are charged with determining the champion of each round, awarding weekly prizes and a final grand prize to the Chef vs. Chef 2016 winner.

Last year, the final Chef vs. Chef showdown crowned James Strine (Café Boulud, Palm Beach) as top chef during the 2015 inaugural series. He was followed closely by runner-up John Thomas (Tryst, Delray Beach), and chefs Chris Miracolo (S3, Fort Lauderdale) and Victor Meneses (El Camino, Delray Beach) who made their way to the final four.

The high-energy event is complete with music and lively commentary by MC and executive chef Eric Baker.

The competition will be held each Wednesday evening for 16 weeks, starting at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, until the final event slated for October 12, where one chef will be crowned the winner.  All Chef vs. Chef events are open to the public for a $10 donation. The entry fee benefits the Milagro Center, a Delray Beach nonprofit whose mission is to enrich the lives of children through cultural arts and academic support, and includes one complimentary libation.

Max’s Harvest is located at 169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-381-9970, or visit

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna