It’s Iron Chef time at the Old Town Farmers’ Market

Chef Paul Freimuth

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, meaning that it’s time for the annual Iron Chef Competition at the Old Town Farmers’ Market. The event, now in its 11th year, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the market at First and Mosley.

The competition pits local chefs against each other, cooking live with a secret ingredient they learn about just as the competition begins.

This year’s contest has an interesting twist. Instead of chefs from several different restaurants competing, Harvest Kitchen/Bar’s executive chef Paul Freimuth will compete against his executive sous chef and two assistant sous chefs. The restaurant inside the Hyatt is known for its use of local ingredients. Freimuth was a competitor last year and worked his way deftly around the secret ingredient: long beans.

Celebrity judges Guy Bower and Joe Stumpe will choose a winner around 10 a.m. It’s free for spectators to watch the showdown.

The Old Town Farmers Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon.

Team Hyatt brings the best loaf

Chef Paul Freimuth, left, and his Hyatt staff were the winners at Saturday’s Loaf Off.

I have the results of Saturday’s fifth annual Loaf Off, a meatloaf cooking competition that doubles as a fundraiser.

The event drew 175 people to The Anchor and raised $1,725 for Children’s Miracle Network. It also drew 12 teams who cooked a variety of loaves.

The panel of judges, which included local foodies Joe Stumpe and Barbara Baan, chef Chris Collier and two-time Loaf Off champ Don Lucero, chose the loaf created by Hyatt chef Paul Freimuth. Their “Top Loaf” was a sort of  meatloaf  Wellington, wrapped in pastry. I’m glad Chef Freimuth won, not only because he is a great cook but also because he almost never fails to donate his time to charity cookoff and food events.

The People’s Choice winner was Team Rico, made up of mother and son Eric and Diana Wittman. The team, which has won People’s Choice once before, made a rich, blue cheesy loaf.

Best of show went to the ICT Roller Girls, who arrived to compete in funky derby garb and brightly colored hair.

Organizers are already planning next year’s Loaf Off, so start formulating your recipe.

Flying Stove’s Schauf wins Iron Chef contest

Judge/emcee Mark Davidson with the newly crowned Iron Chef, The Flying Stove's Rob Schauf.

There’s a new Iron Chef in town.

On Saturday morning, I helped judge the 10th annual Iron Chef competition at the Old Town Farmers Market, a competition that pits local chefs against each other in an on-the-spot cookoff, using a “secret ingredient” that’s revealed just before they start.

My cojudges and I —  who included KSN’s morning duo Mark Davidson and Leon Smitherman and local foodie Joe Stumpe — gave the championship wooden spoon to a new competitor — The Flying Stove’s Rob Schauf.

This was Schauf’s first time participating in a local chef-off, and he had some pretty tough competition in Bocconcini’s Nathan Toubia, Tallgrass Country Club’s Ben George, and defending champ Paul Freimuth of The Hyatt. Those three are among Wichita’s most amiable chefs and participate in nearly every cookoff in town.

The judges sampling more delicious food than should be legal before 10 a.m.

The secret ingredient was long beans, and after a shaky start (he appeared frozen by indecision at times), Schauf created a plate that made the crunchy beans the star. He cooked beef rare and topped it with the sauteed beans and served it alongside a potato puree. The judges were fighting for the last bites.

Customers at the Flying Stove rarely see Schauf, who is the culinary brains behind the food truck. He’s always inside, his back to the public, churning out the gourmet food while his friendly, chatty brother Jeff mans the window. He had a big cheering section at the competition, and afterward, The Flying Stove opened on the edge of the Farmers Market to a line 50 people deep.

Here are a few more photos from the event. Read More »

Local chefs to throw down Saturday, Iron Chef style

The Hyatt's Paul Freimuth will defend his Iron Chef on Saturday morning at the Old Town Farmer's Market.

The 10th annual Iron Chef Competition at the Old Town Farmers Market is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the market at First and Mosley.

The competition pits local chefs against each other, cooking live with a “secret ingredient” they learn about just as the competition begins. The reigning champion, Paul Freimuth from the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar will be there defending his title. His competition will be Nathan Toubia from Bocconcini Italian Eatery, Ben George from Tallgrass Country Club, and — in a public appearance first — Rob Schauf from The Flying Stove. (The chef is notoriously shy and usually lets his brother and partner, Jeff, do the talking and appearing.)

The Flying Stove will serve in Old Town Square that day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Old Town Farmer’s Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon.

Lots of foodie fun at this weekend’s Women’s Fair

He's not a woman, but Chef Paul Freimuth knows how to cook food women like.

I like the Women’s Fair.

I’ve been going to it for years and I’m always amazed by the sheer amount of STUFF the organizers pack into Century II. There’s good shopping, live haircuts, as-seen-on-TV demos, tons of freebies (my favorite are the shampoo samples) and tons of food-related exhibitors. In past years, my friends Carrie and Joe have always done a live cooking demonstration, and the audience members nearly riot for a chance to sample the results.

Carrie and Joe can’t make it this year, but four other foodies are scheduled for demonstrations.

Chef Tanya Tandoc, owner of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, will demonstrate how to make chicken curry and other famous soups at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Chef Joe Parten of Carrabba’s will be making chicken Marsala at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Local cookbook author Andrea Cassell will show how to make roasted red pepper and Tex-Mex hummus from her cookbook “Nahima’s Hands” Unique Mediterranean Cuisine” at 5 p.m. Saturday.

And at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Hyatt Chef Paul Freimuth, the man behind the fabulous Harvest Kitchen/Bar, will teach fair-goers how to make tortelloni with tomato basil sauce.

Also, cookbook author “Kitchen Kimberly” will demonstrate Southwest potato corn chowder and savor cheddar and chive bread at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. She’ll also do a 4 p.m. Saturday demonstration of enchilada casserole with Southwest sour cream

I won’t be demonstrating any cooking, but I’ll be at the Wichita Eagle’s booth from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and will be happy to discuss anything restaurant- or food- related with you.

See the full Women’s Fair schedule here.

A report from the meatloaf front lines

Meatloaf was served in tiny tasting cups. If you eat 25 tiny bites, it's healthy, right?

I had more fun than I thought possible at this Saturday’s Loaf Off, a meatloaf competition that fundraiser for Make-A-Wish that made The Anchor smell sooooooo goooooood.

I had the pleasure of serving as a judge at the event, along with chef Tanya Tandoc and local Food God Joe Stumpe. We sampled and sampled and sampled meatloaf, and amazingly, they were all so different that we were actually able to decide which ones were best.

We gave the Top Loaf prize to Don Lucero, who was recently promoted to head chef at Via Christi Hospital on East Harry. He created his loaf in an angel food cake pan, stuffing it in the center with all sorts of cheesy goodness. You can find his recipe at the bottom of this post, and I suggest you make it a.s.a.p.

The crowd gathered to sample the loaves voted on People’s Choice and Best of Show. Eric and Diana Wittman won People’s Choice with a fabulous white-gravy topped loaf, and a team called The Smoked Loafers, lead by Philip Warren, won Best of Show. If my memory serves correct, their loaf was topped with latticed bacon, and it was purty.

Several other loaves were amazing, too, including a pheasant/duck/ostrich creation by Chef Paul Freimuth at the Hyatt and a very tasty Carrabba’s loaf entered by Joe Parten.

Please enjoy my photos from the event and keep reading to find Lucero’s winning recipe.

Don Lucero, the head chef at Via Christi Hospital on East Harry, was the big winner. Here he is with Lori Stone of Make-A-Wish getting his loaf award.

My co-judge Joe, preparing to dig in.

Tanya Tandoc announcing the winner.

Pretty sure this is the latticed beauty that won Best of Show.

The Hyatt's chef Paul Freimuth prepared a loaf made out of ostrich, duck and pheasant.

Could not resist a shot of this meatloaf fan sitting next to us.

Read More »

Ready to loaf

Meatloaf can be sort of a polarizing food. I love it, but many people in my life just can’t deal with it. I’m not sure why. It’s sort of like a giant meatball, and what’s not to like about that?

Good thing I’m pro-meatloaf because on Saturday, I’ll be one of three judges at the Loaf Off, a meatloaf cooking competition now in its third year.

We’ll gather at The Anchor, 1109 E. Douglas, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and sample loafs assembled by both home cooks and local chefs. Among the chefs entering this year: Paul Freimuth, the new head chef at Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt, Carrabba’s Joe Parten and local caterer Chris Collier.

The public is invited to sample the loafs and help choose a People’s Choice category. The Anchor will be providing meatloaf friendly side-items liked mashed potatoes and gravy. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12.

My co-judges are Tanya Tandoc of the soon-to-open Tanya’s Soup Kitchen and local Food God Joe Stumpe. The event raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas.

Come loaf off with us?

Palette to Palate post with pictures

On Saturday, I attended Palette to Palate, a new foodie fundraiser that was co-organized by my friend and colleague Bonnie Bing. It drew more than 200 people for a wine and food tasting and an art and wine auction at the Wichita Scottish Rite and raised a whole buncha money for KETCH.

Several interesting developments came out of the evening. One was that I finally got to meet Paul Freimuth, who recently replaced David Wirebaugh as the head chef at the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar. He brought some fabulous little bites of food, including a polenta crouton with shrimp and Cajun remoulade (I could have eaten the whole tray of those) and a duck canape with mango chow chow and roasted red pepper cream cheese.

Clearly, he’s a good cook, and I’m happy to see that Freimuth is going to make the same kind of effort Wirebaugh did to get involved in charity events.

Chef Paul Freimuth in polenta action.

I also spent some time talking to local restaurateur Melad Stephan, who provided over mini beef Wellingtons, hummus and more from his Uptown Bistro. He had some interesting things to say, which I hope I can elaborate on later this week.

Newport Grill had some great shrimp and eggrolls at the event, and Cero’s and Cocoa Dolce sent over lots of chocolate. The Corporate Hills Marriott sent over a massive ice scupture and put out a raw oyster bar that also included shrimp shooters (above.) And Monica of Monica’s Bundt Cakes provided a nicely decorated KETCH cake.

It also was fun to watch people bidding big money on expensive bottles of wine. Local wine expert Jamie Stratton was there, guiding people through the process.

The group hopes to make the Palette to Palate and annual event, so start saving your auction pennies now.

Melad and me.

KETCH president an CEO Ron Pasmore, Bonnie, Kathy Krumsick and her husband Herb Krumsick, who co-chaired the event with Bonnie.

Lots of food fun at the Women’s Fair

Guy Bower: Willing to teach women about wine.

I sort of love the Women’s Fair, which runs Friday through Sunday at Century II.

There’s tons of good shopping, for one, and I love watching the live haircuts that Eric Fisher and his stylists do in the middle of all the hubub.

I also love the foodie fun at the Women’s Fair, mostly because the food demonstrations always conclude with samples, and there are some good cooks on the menu this year.

Friday

At 5:30 p.m., my buddy Guy Bower (who changed my life when he taught me that I preferred Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand) will put on a wine tasting. Right after at 6:30 p.m., the Hyatt’s new chef Paul Freimuth will make his Wichita debut with a cooking show.

Saturday
You will not want to miss the annual cooking show put on by Sue Chef & the Food God, also known as the Wichita Eagle’s Carrie Rengers and her food God and husband Joe Stumpe. Their always-entertaining show is at 2 p.m. Then, at 4 p.m., local chef Tanya Tandoc, who’s hard at work getting her Tanya’s Soup Kitchen reopened, will put on a cooking show of her own.

Sunday
Skip lunch and go to a noon cooking show by Joe Parten, the very generous and talented chef and proprietor of Carrabba’s.

The Women’s Fair runs from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7.75 for adults, $6.75 for seniors and $4.75 for children.

Pitts out at Press; Harvest has new chef

Chef Douglas Pitts, whose resume includes a long list of Wichita restaurants, has left his job at Press at 1720 N. Webb Road.

Pitts opened the restaurant and cocktail lounge with Oeno/Uptown Bistro/Sabor owner Melad Stephan in November. He notified me today that he’d left Press but didn’t want to elaborate.

I’ve got a call into Stephan, so I’ll report what I find out about his search for a new chef.

Freimuth

Speaking of the Chef Shuffle, popular local chef David Wirebaugh, who was always good for a local cookoff, has left Wichita’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt to open a new restaurant called Q Restaurant at the Hyatt in San Antonio.

His replacement is new executive chef Paul Freimuth, who previously worked as the executive sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.