Chef Tre Wilcox’ North vs. South Celebrity Chef Smackdown Proves That… Wait for it…


by Rhonda Dutton

Sunday evening, Chef Tre Wilcox (Best Chef, Iron Chef, Top Chef, eat Bobby Flay and yadda yadda cheffy fame stuff) flexed his culinary industry muscles and pulled together a Celebrity Chef Smackdown with a portion of the proceeds going to Make-a-Wish.  

When Chef Wilcox opened his business, Cooking Concepts, in the suburbs, his first thought was, “I wonder how many people live in Highland Park and say – I ain’t going past 635!” “And then I come up here to Plano and everyone’s telling me, I ain’t going down to Dallas!)” That’s when he thought it was time to put a little smackdown together to see which side of 635 has the better culinary scene – a championship belt was born.

Thusly, Chef Wilcox invited a well-known Dallas-based Chef and a well-known Collin County-based Chef for a North vs. South Celebrity Chef Smackdown! The contenders were Chef Samir Dhurandhar (Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse) and Chef Jermaine Brown (Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine).

img_7363Chef Jermaine Brown and Chef Samir Dhurandhar

Each Chef received a mystery basket of ingredients: Pumpkin, whole Texas rabbit, a bottle of Four Bullets Brewery Porter beer, and an assortment of vinegars from Oil & Vinegar – And had eight minutes to plan and gather ingredients before the timers started.

img_7364Chef Dhurandhar checking out his basket ingredients…

img_7365Chef Brown prepping his rabbit…

The Chefs had 45 minutes to create their dishes! The chefs went to work while we lucky observers got to nosh and vote on Peoples’ Choice contest tastes from all three Chefs. Yeah, my life sucks.

tre1Chef Dhurandhar’s Duck Curry Tacos with Pang Nang Sauce were outta this world! I ate… More than one… This contender won the Peoples’ Choice. So in honor of the win, I had another…

tre2Chef Brown’s Shrimp and Grits were a surprise since we see this on a lot of menus, but THIS – THIS was different. Garden fresh taste with some heat – love!   I mean, look at those crisp veggies. I know this is just supposed to be a caption, but LOOK AT IT! Plus, I’m just too chatty to be contained by captions…


tre3Chef Wilcox’ Tenderloin Slider was ridiculous. I eat a lot of burgers and just recently a lot of sliders and THIS rocked my tasty world. I zoomed in really close so you could pretend to take a bite…

Anyway, snapping back to reality, the Chefs were kicking it up in the competition kitchen – It was some serious fun with even the judges moseying about and taking snapchats and Instagram videos! Speaking of, the lineup of judges couldn’t have been better selected as they, too, were a mix from North and South of 635: Harry LaRosiliere (Mayor of Plano), Philip Silvestri (Plano Profile Publisher), and Leslie Brenner (Dallas Morning News Food Critic). This is gonna be good…

img_7366Plano’s Mayor snapping a selfie with Chef Dhurandhar and an unnamed pumpkin…

img_7377At the judges’ table, the dishes were critiqued based on taste, creativity, presentation, and use of the mystery basket ingredients. At that moment, everyone in the room wished we were judges…

After 45 minutes of smelling the delicious aromas and viewing the intense competition and then watching the judges eat those deliciously dressed plates, Chef Wilcox was able to prove that the culinary scene NORTH of 635 wins by a “hare.” Thank you, Leslie Brenner, for that one. And congratulations to Chef Brown for winning the 1st Quarterly Celebrity Chef Smackdown.

img_7379Clockwise from top L: Chef Brown’s platter; Chef Dhurandhar served up his rabbit and cauliflower separately…



img_7384Definitely winners both of the Chefs, but only one gets the belt!

img_7383Props to Chef Brown for proving that we eat just as good North of 635!

We sure look forward to other smackdowns and Chef Wilcox’s Cooking Concepts proved to be a prime location for events such as this one. Think, corporate holiday party and your favorite executives competing in the kitchen… Or, yeah, a teambuilding and all that positivity stuff… but how awesome would it be to pit an EVP against your CEO in a cooking competition???

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Filed under chefs, Chefs Say The Darndest Things, Crave, Rhonda Dutton

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