Local chefs battle in ‘Beachside Brawl’ and ‘Iron Chef’

Not just one particular, but two renowned San Diego chefs are competing on countrywide cooking exhibits inside days of one particular an additional.

Claudette Zepeda seems in the most current incarnation of Netflix’s popular Iron Chef series — “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend” — which debuted yesterday.

The government chef of Vaga in the Hyatt’s Alila Marea vacation resort in Encinitas could not be attained for remark, but she is already a Television foodstuff clearly show veteran. Zepeda competed previously on season 15 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and on “Top Chef Mexico.”

Chef Claudette Zepeda, founder of since-closed El Jardín in Liberty Station, competes on Netflix's new "Iron Chef" series.

Chef Claudette Zepeda, founder of because-shut El Jardín in Liberty Station, competes on Netflix’s new “Iron Chef” series.

(Eduardo Contreras/San Diego Union-Tribune)

On June 19, ARLO gourmand chef Josh Mouzakes will rumble in the Foods Network’s “Beachside Brawl.” This new 6-7 days series that airs Sundays at 10 p.m. (and on discovery+) pits 5 popular East Coastline chefs in opposition to five on the West Coast to see which coastline delivers the tastiest summer time dishes.

When judges rule, the winner may be the “beast of the East” or the “best of the West,” trumpets the show promo.

Mouzakes really bought his start off in Eastport, Lengthy Island, just before transferring westward to culinary instructions in the Lodge del Coronado and JW Marriott in downtown Houston and then getting to be govt chef at ARLO, the City & Country’s new signature cafe in Mission Valley.

“I thought it would be good publicity for my career,” Mouzakes posted on Fb subsequent filming. “What I discovered was a lot much more profound.”

Functioning together with the mentor cooks and present host chef Antonia Lofaso “gave me a total new standpoint.” He called it 1 of his best culinary ordeals.

Despite the fact that no stranger to level of competition, this was Mouzakes’ to start with time on a Food stuff Network display. But his Television set premiere experienced an ominous get started.

Mouzakes received an unpredicted immediate information from a clearly show casting agent while purchasing at the Panera bakery and cafe in Solana Seashore. As he talked to the agent, he glimpsed slight motion of a purse belonging to a lady client dining nearby, then the entrance door speedily open and close.

Sensing the consumer experienced just been robbed, he advised the casting agent, “Hang on, person, I gotta enable this girl,” and dashed out the doorway in pursuit of the suspected pickpocket. The fellow previously experienced sprinted throughout the parking good deal and was swiftly out of see.

The shopper was missing her credit history playing cards but was able to connect with and terminate them just before any hurt was done.

It was not rather the chef’s “catch of the day” but was a testomony to Mouzakes’ crisis reaction, a vital ingredient to kitchen area survival. Following the enjoyment, he resumed his telephone dialogue with the casting scout who cleared Mouzakes for a Zoom job interview with his manager.

When he received affirmation that he was a contestant, he experienced only a couple of times to invest in all the Hawaiian shirts he could come across (no chef’s jackets or white shirts ended up allowed) and report to Hermosa Beach.

The exhibit was staged on the Redondo Beach Pier where a village of tents had been erected for the 10-day picture shoot involving a crew of about 200.

Host Antonia LaFaso gave the two teams of four contestants and their mentor a beach-themed cooking obstacle, and they dashed to the communal grocery pantry to accumulate ingredients.

Cooking assignments for the premiere bundled a food product on a adhere, a fried merchandise, a thing in a bun, some thing cheesy and a sweet address. Summer season showdowns more than the six months ranged from budget seafood banquets and boardwalk bake product sales to luxurious yacht fare and tropical vacation spot dinners.

“We experienced creation assistants walk us to lunch, but most of time we ended up in a keeping pen waiting around for the next obstacle,” he says.

“It was an anxiousness roller coaster — adrenaline heading as we have been waiting for the final results and starting up to get truly nervous. … In the tent, we all bonded. We termed it worry pier.”

Mouzakes found the most important obstacle was making an attempt to be inventive beneath strain — not finding as well stressed or heading overboard in the beachside brawl. He essential to scale down his ordinarily elaborate displays to tasty, but ingenious, beach cuisine, packing as a great deal wow factor as he could muster.

Time was his most important enemy. “I like to be artistic and imagine outside the box,” states Mouzakes, but with 20-, 30- or 40-minute deadline constraints, there was not usually time to execute his dream presentation.

Will he include any of his Food Community creations to ARLO’s menu?

Completely, suggests the celebrity chef, who is currently updating ARLO’s offerings. Furthermore, on each individual Sunday that he seems on the 6-episode level of competition, ARLO will feature his seaside-themed creations of that week.

Mouzakes honed his skillet techniques starting at age 13 right after he got a dishwashing job at a regional cafe the place he confident his bus driver to drop him off right after college.

Following his college or university culinary courses and an internship at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, he worked on the East Coastline, then in Great Britain just before heading west.

With filming over, Mouzakes is giving away his Hawaiian shirts to charity (they shrunk in the wash). Yet, he’s sport to return to the competitive culinary stress cooker.

“Strangely, I want to go again and be in an additional display and a different competition.”