Semi-Finalists Announced for Chefs Taste Challenge

NEW ORLEANS - Fourteen chefs from across the country have been announced as semi-finalists for the inaugural Farm to Table Chefs Taste Challenge (CTC), which takes place August 7, 2015 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Aaron Butts, Joseph Decuis Restaurant
Roanoke, Indiana
Alan Ehrich, Audubon Nature Institute
New Orleans, Louisiana
Carmen Rodriguez, Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa
Lake Arrowhead, California
Craig Baker
Indianapolis, Indiana
Elise Wiggins, Panzano
Denver, Colorado
Frank Brigtsen, Brigtsen’s Restaurant
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant
DeLand, Florida
Joel Navejas, The Farmhouse
Fort Collins, Colorado
Joshua Galliano, The Libertine
Clayton, Missouri
Justin Kouri, Recipe for Success Foundation
Houston, Texas
Matthew Farmer, Apolline Restaurant
New Orleans, Louisiana
Matthew Roher, The Landings Club
Savannah, Georgia
Richard Jones, Green Door Gourmet
Nashville, Tennessee
Rocky Durham, Santa Fe Culinary Academy
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The final round of the selection process is a social media competition currently taking place on the CTC Facebook page. The number of Facebook “Likes” and “Shares” will be an important factor as to which ten chefs get invited to cook at the Chefs Taste Challenge. Voting ends Thursday, May 14.

The final ten chefs will compete to create the best dish that utilizes farm-fresh items from a pantry of seasonal ingredients. Items stocked in the pantry will be representative of ingredients that are in-season in regions across the country at the time of the competition.

Participating chefs’ dishes will be judged by a panel of industry-renowned judges. Confirmed judges so far include Chef Sue Zemanick, the 2014 James Beard award recipient for “Best Chef - South,” Certified Master Chef Brad Barnes of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Kevin Belton of the New Orleans School of Cooking, and Chef Gary Prell, Vice President Culinary Development, Centerplate. The top two dishes will be selected for Gold and Silver Chefs Taste Challenge awards. A “Fan Favorite” award will also be presented based on voting from dinner attendees. All ten selected chefs will receive national recognition for their participation in the Chefs Taste Challenge dinner event.

The Chefs Taste Challenge is produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, in partnership with the SoFAB Institute, the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Centerplate. The CTC is held in conjunction with the Farm to Table International Conference, taking place August 8-10, 2015 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. F2Ti explores the cultivation, distribution and consumption of food and drink sourced locally to globally. For more information on F2Ti, please visit

Website and Social Media Links:

Instagram: @chefstastechallenge
Hashtag: #CTC15


Phone: 504.582.3027