Chef Throwdown at Abbott’s Grill


Abbott’s Grill hosted a Chef Throwdown competition on Thursday, September 15 on their back patio for a unique spin on their famous wine tasting and pairing events. Chefs from Abbott’s Grill, Nage and Dogfish Head contended against each other for the title of King Chef as they cooked up creative dishes and paired them with one of four fall beers from Dogfish Head. Each chef was allowed to cook one dish to pair with one beer.

Celebrity chefs for the evening were Benton Wallace from Nage, Dennis Marcoux with assistance Matt Adams from Dogfish Head and Abbott’s Grill’s own Kevin Reading and Ryan Cunningham.

“We let them have total creative control,” stated Karen Stauffer of Abbott’s Grill. “They could cook anything they wanted; it just had to pair well with the beer that we gave them. We decided on beers through a blind assignment a week before the event.”

The idea was developed out of the success from the wine dinners in the past and the love of craft beers from the Abbott’s staff. Naturally, Dogfish Head was chosen as the beer to be used since it is local and has been on tap at the restaurant since their opening. The sales representative from Dogfish Head, Nick Vital, helped come up with the idea of the Chef Throwdown to closely mimic an Iron Chef type of competition, where chefs go head to head to compete for best dishes.

“We just wanted to create a fun and casual beer festival type of atmosphere, where guests got to interact with the chefs, see what was being created and dine at their own pace,” commented Karen. “It worked out really well. We’ve had nothing but great compliments on the set-up, the chefs, and of course the beer.”

At the end of the night Abbott’s own Ryan Cunningham was crowned King Chef chosen by the patrons on the back patio who enjoyed the food and drink of the evening. Ryan paired Dogfish Head’s Punkin’ Ale with Punkin’ Ale braised pork cheeks, local fall squash, Fifer Orchard apples and natural jus. Abbott’s owner Kevin Reading came in a close second serving Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch with Roasted duck, phyllo-wrapped fig, port-duck reduction and butternut squash brown butter.

“Tickets sold so well, and we had so many requests the day before and night of, that I’m sure we’ll do more beer events in the future,” stated Karen. “The general manager of Dogfish Head Pub was here and he loved the idea. He said he’d love to expand it and involve more chefs, more beers, and do the event on a larger scale. So who knows, the Dogfish Head Throwdown could easily turn into a bigger, annual event.”