Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cuba Libre chef wins DeBella's Comfort Food Fest

Scott McLeod is well-versed in the art of charcuterie.

Cuba Libre chef wins DeBella's Comfort Food Fest


Homemade duck sausage is not found on the menu at Cuba Libre, but chef Scott McLeod is well-versed in the art of charcuterie.

He was one of 10 local chefs who gave it their best shot last night by interpreting "comfort food" for an invitation-only crowd of WMGK listeners at John DeBella's seventh annual Comfort Food Fest. Adding to the comfort were beer pairings.

McLeod's "Biscuits and Gravy" (duck sausage, duck gravy, brie-chive biscuits, satsuma tangerine and peppercres) won the night, according to judges Mike Jerrick (of Fox29), cookbook author Hope Cohen, and's Michael Klein.

Besides McLeod, the lineup was:

Parxgrill at Parx Casino: chef Frank Perko's Grandma’s Sunday Chicken Dinner in a Shell- Chicken Osso Bucco, cornbread stuffing, crispy sweet potato, baked in a pasta shell with a chicken veloute. Beer: Magic Hat #9 - Pale Ale. Judges though this was clever and well-executed.

Stella Rossa: chef Anthony DiPascale's homemade Sausage sliders - Broccoli rabe and provolone stuffed sausage, sautéed peppers, onions and spicy marinara on Aversa roll. Judges thought this dish lacked ambition. Beer: Magic Hat Ticket to Rye - Rye IPA

Alla Spina: chef Patrick Szoke's maple-glazed fried chicken wings with mozzarella curd mashed potatoes. Judges raved about the crunch, though the wings may have been a touch too sweet. Beer: Magic Hat #9 - Pale Ale

El Vez: Chef Kevin Taylor's  duck carnitas taco – crispy duck carnitas with mescal scented foie gras & kumquat salsa. Judges thought this was OK with an attractive presentation. Beer: Magic Hat Heart of Darkness - Stout

Pacific Prime and Viviano at Valley Forge Casino: Chef Chris Garrison's cornbread fritter stuffed with spicy, smoked porter chili & Dubliner cheddar cheese was OK. Beer: Magic Hat Heart of Darkness - Stout

JG Domestic: Chef Andrew Sabin's corned veal tongue with sauerkraut, rye crouton, IPA mustard was interesting with decent flavor. Beer: Magic Hat Ticket to Rye - Rye IPA

Pod: Chef Todd Lean's smoke and braised brisket bao buns with kimchee were OK. Beer: Magic Hat Dream Machine - India Pale Lager

Old Homestead Steak House at Borgata: Chef Romeo DiBona's “Chicken & Waffles” – Waffle-battered chicken with apple slaw, maple syrup, and candied bacon - impressed the judges. Beer: Magic Hat Circus Boy - Hefeweizen.

The Fat Ham: Chef Aaron Gottesman's deep-fried pimento mac-n-cheese was interestig, though perhaps a bit dry. Beer:Magic Hat Dream Machine - India Pale Lager



More coverage
How clean is your favorite restaurant? Inspection reports
Han Dynasty's owner is out standing in his field
Chef Jennifer Carroll is bound for D.C.
Chinatown getting a 24/7 food court
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Food news, tips and other food-centric dispatches!

Tim Reardon
Nick Vadala
Drew Lazor
Michael Klein
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter