El Vez chef wins WMGK Comfort Food Fest


The challenge at the annual Comfort Food Fest presented by WMGK and morning man John DeBella: Can area chefs put a creative spin on comfort food?

Is it enough to serve a dessert cake made of peanut butter and jelly topped with marshmallow, with an egg cream on the side? Will the crowd and judges be impressed with a shot glass of creamy tomato soup with a square of grilled cheese sandwich suspended at the top?

This year, for its sixth outing, 10 chefs set up at Vie, the catering spot on North Broad Street. Most of these dishes, for one reason or another, will never find a place on the chefs' regular menu.

At least one of these should: David LaForce, chef at El Vez, wowed the judges and crowd with his Tacos de Costillias, which combined short rib, mashed potatoes, blue cheese and black garlic.

I was a judge, alongside chef Hope Cohen, John Lilley of The Hooters, and 6ABC's Alicia Vitarelli.