Carpenter’s Shelter Annual Cook-Off

I rarely make it to Alexandria and I know that makes me miss out on a lot of amazing food. So it was great to do some catching up yesterday at the Carpenter’s Shelter annual cook off. And it was all for a good cause. Carpenter’s Shelter has been helping the homeless community for 25 years now and they celebrated yesterday with their signature fundraising event at the Birchmere, featuring the best chefs and restaurants in the area. The cook off kicked off for VIPs at 11AM with a live taping of radio show Foodie and the Beast (1500AM/WTOP). Then it was on to 2 hours of eating, with 30 restaurants offering samples of their finest food, a live auction to raise more funds for the shelter and of course, the awards.

From top left to bottom right: BRABO chef de cuisine Chris Watson, the 2013 Cook Off judges,
my friends/eating buddies and the 
BBQ Beef Bisket and Cole Slaw from Overwood – 4/28/2013 

Four awards were given out: best starter, best main course, best dessert and people’s choice. There were a lot of great dishes, so I’m sure it can’t have been an easy decision for judges Cori Sue Morris (Bitches who Brunch), Chef Will Artley (Pizzeria Orso), Kate Michael (K Street Magazine) and Jeff Goldberg (ABC7/WJLA-TV). Since The Majestic Cafe had won the people’s choice for the past three years, I was sort of rooting for another restaurant to win the prize. But The Majestic’s She-Crab soup was pretty good and apparently both the judges and the people agreed. Chef “RED” Shannon walked away with both the best starter and people’s choice awards. Pork Barrel BBQ, my husband’s personal favourite of the day, and Brabo Restaurant, my personal favourite, grabbed best main course and best dessert for their St. Louis’ Ribs and their brown butter tart with macerated strawberries, rhubarb and whipped cream, respectively. 

To read more about the shelter’s work and homelessness in Northern Virginia, please visit the Cook Off’s website. And, of course, consider attending next year!

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