Which Chef Can Mix Drinks?
What happens when chefs put down their knives and pick up cocktail shakers? Mixed results. Eight prominent DC chefs took on the challenge at Chefs Behind Bars, a cocktail competition benefiting No Kid Hungry. Art and Soul’s Wes Morton, Alba Osteria’s Amy Brandwein, Liberty Tavern’s Matt Hill, Pabu’s Jonah Kim, Good Stuff Eatery’s Spike Mendelsohn, Bar Pilar’s Jesse Miller, Cava Mezze’s Dimitri Moshovitis, and Nick Stefanelli all participated last week.
Jonah Kim (left) took the title for “The Noble Stanley” made with Makers 46, vanilla syrup, lemon, chocolate bitters, sage, aged sherry vinegar, and soda. Jonah most recently wore a chef coat at Pabu in Baltimore, however, the Michael Mena restaurant recently closed. Jonah’s cocktail was so well balanced that he could probably bartend while finding his next kitchen. Most competitors incorporated ingredients typically reserved for entrees, like pork belly, harissa, and squid ink, while Jonah kept it slightly simpler.
Who deemed Jonah the winner? A crowd of 200 gathered around the Liaison Capitol Hill pool, along with six judges: TheListAreYouOnIt/Foodie and the Beast's Nycci Nellis (left), cocktail genius Derek Brown (right), Mixtress Gina Chersevani, Eater’s Missy Frederick, Bourbon Steak’s Duane Sylvestre, and your Dining Bisnow reporter. A second installment of the event will take place on July 30 at Buffalo & Bergen with a new set of chefs including Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple and Roofers Union and Bart Vandaele of Belga Café and B TOO.