Chef Autumn Cline took home the top honor in the 15th anniversary of Capital Food Fight, presented by Smithfield Foods. Local chefs Kyle Bailey of The Salt Line, Alex McCoy of Lucky Buns, Kevin Tien of Himitsu, and Autumn Cline of Rappahannock Oyster Bar went head-to-head in a thrilling culinary battle on the stage of DC’s hottest event venue, The Anthem.
Nationally recognized celebrities including Tom Colicchio (Bravo’s “Top Chef”), Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals), Richard On (O.A.R.), Jennifer Carroll (Co-Executive Chef and Partner at Spice Finch Philadelphia), Andrew Zimmern (“Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern), David Guas (TV Personality & Chef, Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery), and Tregaye Fraser (Food Network and Cooking Channel) served as judges for the live culinary battles. José Andrés and Spike Mendelsohn co-hosted the annual event, which included opening remarks from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and first-time Capital Food Fight emcee, Tommy McFly (“The Tommy Show”). McFly’s “The Tommy Show” co-hosts Kelly Collis and Jen Richer also joined forces to serve as Field Reporters at the event, reporting on all the action taking place off the stage.
The event’s most moving moments included a stirring tribute to the late co-host of the event, Anthony Bourdain, and an uplifting presentation of the Marianne Ali North Star Award, which provided a continuing education scholarship to DC Central Kitchen culinary graduate Christine Bates courtesy of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.
In a nod to DC’s mixology scene, guests voted in the first-ever People’s Choice Mixology Competition, sponsored by Beam Suntory. Six mixologists poured specialty cocktails before Adam Bernbach of Estadio was named the 2018 People’s Choice winner for his creation, “#Gintonic” prepared with Sipsmith Gin.
This year’s Capital Food Fight raised of $770,000 for DC Central Kitchen and brought together over 2,000 guests, 80 tasting restaurants and live on-stage entertainment at The Anthem. Battling chefs were asked to create dishes using secret ingredients ranging from Shoulder Bacon presented by Smithfield Foods, local white acorn squash presented by Keany Produce, and a variety of Swapples presented by Whole Foods Market.
“On behalf of everyone at Smithfield Foods, we are proud to once again serve as the presenting sponsor for this important event that makes such an incredible impact on hunger relief in the D.C. area,” said Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods. “This year’s Capital Food Fight served up competitive dishes, inspiring collaboration, and most importantly, raised funds for DC Central Kitchen to improve food security in this community.”
“This is one of DC’s best events, and we were seriously proud to have it here,” said Seth Hurwitz, owner of The Anthem. “Now I guess I gotta hit the gym.”