San Diego Top Chefs Compete for a Good Cause: The Eighth Annual Chef Showdown Culinary Competition

This Thursday, September 13 at Liberty Station in the NTC Promenade, the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) will hold it’s biggest fundraising event of the year: the Eighth Annual Chef Showdown

Last years winning team: Paul McCabe, Anthony Sinsay, Nick Shinton, JC Colon, Amy DiBiase, Chad White
Showdown, you say? Yes! Several of San Diego’s top chefs compete in “Iron Chef” style: they’ll be divided into two teams and given a secret ingredient that they must use to create eight dishes during the evening’s event. This year’s competing chefs are:

See anyone from any of your favorite restaurants listed? I see several!

Fine Dining at the Chef Showdown.
And who’s judging, you ask? Well, two of you could win a spot at the judges table with a bid during the live auction portion of the evening. Nifty, huh? Your fellow judges will be Chef Bernard Guillas from the Marine Room (another favorite restaurant of mine), La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club as well as The Shores , Restaurateur and author Ingrid Croce, Restaurateur Joe Bussalacchi (I wrote about one of my favorite dishes from one of his restaurants here) and Restaurateur Michelle Lerach. MC for the evening will be Sam Zien of the Emmy award-winning television show, Sam the Cooking Guy.

Time to get serious ... Why am I telling you about this event?
It’s not often that I write event previews. Sometimes, though, one of the several press releases I get in my inbox will strike a chord within me and I am compelled to share it so that perhaps it will strike a chord in you.

You see, CCS is a very special organization to me. They assist thousands of women, men and children who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse here in San Diego. They operate the only Rape Crisis Center in the City of San Diego along with a 24-hour bilingual crisis helpline. The Center also provides hospital and court accompaniment for rape survivors and provides two 24-hour emergency shelter and transitional housing programs for victims of violence and their children.

Sadly, I’ve known people who were victims at one point or another in their lives. The truth is, that even one victim is too many. When I found out about this one-of-a-kind culinary event, I knew I had to spread the word. The Center does important work and needs our help to keep it going.

In the beginning there was Isabel …
Chef Showdown was started over 8 years ago by Board Member and local restaurateur Isabel Cruz, owner of Isabel’s Cantina, Coffee Cup and Barrio Star.
"This event provides the city of San Diego a fun and inventive way to be involved in an issue that affects us all. Violence is not just a women’s issue, but a community one. The awareness that Chef Showdown provides and funds raised are crucial to assisting tens of thousands of families break the cycle of violence and get the help they need."

Chef Showdown is co-chaired by Dee Dee Castro, Community Relations manager from Viejas. Last year, the charity event raised over $126,000 for CCS. This year, the goal is to earn at least $100,000. In addition to the Showdown, attendees will have the opportunity to taste an array of delectable creations from more than 25 participating restaurants, sample a variety of wines, and bid on auction items.

The details
What: The Eighth Annual Celebrity Showdown
When: Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: NTC Promenade at Legacy Plaza in Point Loma
Tickets: $125 each or $200 for a VIP reservation. Tickets can be purchased online at (suggested because VIP tickets tend to sell out) or at the door the day of the event. You can also purchase by calling (858) 272-5777, ext. 120.

Source: Photos and information courtesy of event promoters.