The battle, which took over a side lot of the Four Seasons Resort on the festival’s third day, pitted chefs representing New York City against those cooking for Palm Beach.
Lipman, chef/owner of the popular Coolinary Cafe in Palm Beach Gardens, created a trio of croquetas (Miami-inspired street fare), a shrimp and andouille sausage, an edamame falafel ball, and a lamb-accented ball.
The evening’s celebrity chef judges — food TV’s Robert Irvine, Christina Tosi, Hugh Acheson, Jeff Mauro, among others — chose New York chef Elizabeth Falkner as their winner. The pastry-chef-turned-savory-master created a delicately grilled striped bass with a creamy Meyer lemon yogurt sauce, topped with micro greens.
Tied for runner-up were West Palm Beach chef Lindsay Autry, who served a flavorful Brunswick stew over rice grits, and New York-Boston chef Ken Oringer, who gave the foodie crowd a giant paella pan filled with Spanish-inspired fideos (noodles), tossed with seafood.
Buccan, the home turf of the county’s own two-time James Beard Award nominee Clay Conley, hosted a family-style meal with star power: Southern food savant and James Beard cookbook award winner Hugh Acheson, Gavin Kaysen (two-time James Beard finalist) and Michelin-star-rated George Mendes.
Each cooked two dishes — actually stood in Conley’s kitchen and prepared the meals — for 140 guests smart enough to snap up the tickets to this event. That intimacy is what sets this festival apart from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival which draws thousands.
“Some of the festivals are so huge, they’re over the top,” said Acheson, a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. “Here, you can really spend time with people.”