August 21 Chefs Challenge: A Peachy Evening with Strada and DOUGH

"It's hot." That was "Cheferee" Edwin French's take on the energy in the kitchen as we sat down to last night's dinner. With more than 100 diners in their seats at Packs Tavern eagerly anticpating the evening, Chefs Challenge Semi-Finalists Anthony Cerrato of Strada and Brian Ross of DOUGH were still going at full tilt, waiting on food to come out of the oven. 


The secret ingredient -- peaches -- were generously provided by McDowell & Sons Farm in Chesnee, SC. Both chefs did a great job of celebrating the flavorful fruit with refreshing starters, Southern-inspired "slap your Grandma" second dishes and a sweet (but not too sweet) finish.


The teams plucked at diners' heart strings and taste buds; DOUGH's peach gazpacho with warm goat cheese toast hit a high note early on, while the chocolate dipped bacon sprinkled with sea salt atop the peach creme brulee from Strada made for a crowd-pleasing finish (the number one dish, in fact). Top dish and top chef honors went to Anthony Cerrato and team Strada. Brian Ross and team DOUGH gave them a run for their money with a 50/50 split crowd vote. In the end, it was the judges' scoring that put Strada over the top. Both teams were just peachy in our book:)


Chef Anthony Cerrato and Strada will compete against Chef Daniel Wright and Tomato Jam Cafe at the FRS Chefs Challenge Finale at the Grand Tasting on Saturday. The competition heats up at 2pm and is free with festival admission. The winner receives a $5,000 cash prize and more than $1,000 in cookware from FRS. Come cheer on two of Asheville's top chefs! Follow the food fight on Twitter at #wncchef.



Grilled peach and shrimp ceviche with grilled scallions

Peach-battered fried chicken with tomato peach jam, rosemary ginger peach glazed fingerlings and grilled asparagus

Peach creme brulee with chocolate dipped bacon sprinkled with sea salt



Peach gazpacho with warm goat cheese toast

Peach BBQ ribs with roasted pork tenderloin, spiced peach chutney, mac n' cheese and collards

Charred peach and cream semi freddo