Clash in the KitchenVicksburg chef to judge annual culinary competition

Published 11:28 am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

If you become a judge, you can’t win the competition. That’s why chef Jay Parmegiani was asked to serve as one for the Clash in the Kitchen cooking competition, according to event organizers.

Parmegiani, owner of Roca Restaurant & Bar in Vicksburg, has won the annual event, that raises money for the Mississippi Burn Foundation, two of the last three years.

“We asked if he was interested, to give other people a chance to win,” said Dominic DeLeo, who is serving as the director of the foundation.

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Parmegiani said he has no regrets about not being one of the competitors this year.

“It’s going to be great to be on the other side,” he said, “I’ve never judged an event before. This will be the first time.”

Parmegiani said he won the first year the fundraiser was held and last year.

“The second year Tom Ramsey won,” he said.

Ramsey is the chef at Underground 119 in Jackson and a native of Vicksburg.

The cook-off is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 and will be at the Mississippi Craft Museum, 950 Rice Road, in Ridgeland.

This year’s competitors include Ramsey along with Jesse Houston, chef at Parlor Market; and King Edward Hotel executive chef Nick Wallace.

The main ingredient that each chef is required to use in his culinary creation is kept secret until closer to the event, DeLeo said.

Last year it was a potato, and Parmegiani’s winning dish was a “loaded baked potato” dessert.

Along with Parmegiani, judges will be Grandy Griffin, director of education and training for the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association; and chef Dan Blumenthal, co-owner of Sal & Mookie’s, Bravo and Broad Street Baking Company.

Competitors are judged on taste, presentation, originality and how well the chosen ingredient was used in the dish.

Jeff Good, one of Blumenthal’s business partners, will be host for the evening.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling Amanda Fontaine at 601-540-2995.

“This is one of the coolest things to do to raise money for the burn center,” said Parmegiani.