The oy of cooking: Chefs compete in a kosher contest

Bubby's Cook-Off

Rather than hold a mere gala to raise money, Lubavitch Bucks County has enlisted six Philly chefs to compete in a cooking contest. The difference between this contest and, say, Top Chef? Rabbis will be looking over their shoulder.

It's all kosher.

Bubby’s Cook-Off, benefiting Philadelphia Friendship Circle – North and other social and educational programs of Lubavitch of Bucks County, takes place the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Vie, the catering spot at 600 N. Broad St.

Five of the chefs don't ordinarily cook under rabbinical supervision. Yehuda Sichel's restaurant, Citron & Rose in Merion Station, is kosher. He may have a home field advantage.

Here's the lineup:

  • Jean-Marie Lacroix of Brûlée Catering: Chicken Matzo Dumpling (Quenelle) with Black Perigord Truffles, Leek, Gold Leaf Potato Soup
  • Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar: Hummus Kawarma with lemony sauce
  • Mike Deganis of Alla Spina: Lamb Shoulder Involtini (Whole roasted lamb shoulder, red onion jam, hot sauce & radish)
  • Jayson Grossberg of Cescaphe: Salmon with pickled beets, parsley & orange
  • Yehuda Sichel of Citron & Rose: beef goulash knish with lamb belly vinaigrette
  • Shane Cash of Rat’s Restaurant: Red Wine Braised Brisket, Sweet Potato Puree, Pickled Pearl Onion, Tzimmes Condiment, Spiced Tuile

Judging will be Audrey Claire Taichman (Audrey Claire, COOK, and Twenty Manning Grill), Hope Cohen (chef and author of “Fast, Fresh + Simple"), Nancy Glass (CEO of Nancy Glass Productions), CBS3's Stephanie Stahl, and Rebbetzin Miriam Shemtov (director, Philadelphia Friendship Circle-North and co-founder Lubavitch Bucks County).

I'm the master of ceremonies for the event, which is chaired by Sharon Pinkenson, Joseph Weiss, and William Sasso. Tickets are $175 each; the evening starts at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Food will be paired with Israeli wines.

The evening's beneficiary, Philadelphia Friendship Circle, helps children with special needs involving them in a full range of social experiences. In addition to the cook-off, Lubavitch Bucks County will honor supporters Ruben Amaro Jr. (the Phillies general manager), and a local couple, Jonathon & Rachel Levine. Sammy Goldstein, a child member of Philadelphia’s Friendship Circle - North, will present the awards.