- Former Top Chef contestants gather onstage before the Food Fight begins.
- JosÃ© AndrÃ©s talking with Jeff Black, competitor in the first battle of the night.
- Anthony Bourdain asking Haidar Karoum to explain his dish.
- The judging panel (left to right): Ming Tsai, Joan Nathan and Ted Allen.
- DC Central Kitchen founder and president Robert Eggers.
- The current class of students at the DC Central Kitchen, soon to graduate and totally excited to be there.
- One of the students asks Bourdain for a hug. He complies.
- Hamming it up to auction off a "year of fine dining."
- JosÃ© AndrÃ©s and Todd Gray, competing in the second battle of the night.
- Here, Anthony Bourdain is waxing about foie gras and how wise DC is not to ban it.
- Brian McBride competing against Todd Gray.
- Surprise! Former Top Chef contestants are here to compete.
- Spike Mendelsohn and Carla Hall are paired up.
- Jen Carroll and Mike Isabella make up the other Top Chef team.
- AndrÃ©s proudly talks about Isabella â€” who not all that long ago was working for him at Zaytinya â€” and praises Graffiato.
- The final battle was between Haidar Karoum (Proof/Estadio) and Todd Gray (Equinox/Watershed).
- Haidar Karoum wins!
Last night was the return of the DC Central Kitchen's annual fundraiser, the Capital Food Fight. The event pits four local chefs — Haidar Karoum, Jeff Black, Todd Gray and Brian McBride — against one another in three Top Chef Quickfire-style challenges in between live auctions, sponsor speeches and tastings from some of DC's finest restaurants. There were also food celebrities! There was the judging panel: Ming Tsai, Food Network host Ted Allen and food writer Joan Nathan. But mostly people were there to allow José Andrés and Anthony Bourdain entertain them. Here are some of the highlights:
1) Bantering about their outfits: Andrés defended his choice of menswear by saying that not everyone can dress as well as Bourdain, who replied, "I stole it from Bobby Flay."
2) Lamenting his own strong Spanish accent, Andrés introduced Ming Tsai as a Chinese person without an accent. Tsai: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you just said." Well-played.
3) In the first round of the competition, Proof's Haidar Karoum admitted to trying to buy off Bourdain by adding bacon his dish.
4) Bourdain told everyone to watch the upcoming Simpsons food episode featuring José Andrés, "but strangely it's somebody else's voice."
5) Bourdain noted that he and Tom Colicchio drink gin and tonic while judging Top Chef. Colicchio likes Bombay.
6) Andrés commanded a lot of attention throughout the evening: "Please, I need a cameraman. Where are you?"
7) Haidar Karoum's first dish of the night involved eggs and looked kind of amazing. Andrés agreed: "Who wants to pay $50,000 to eat these eggs? ... They're telling me, 'Eat me, José. They are so sexy."
8) Jeff Black made a dish that Andrés and Bourdain referred to as a "sexy Kardashian breast."
9) Bourdain on Top Chef: That's a pretty low threshold of talent. Andrés replied that "not all of them, but many of them can cook," citing Bryan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella. Bourdain seemed unconvinced and later asked Andrés the age-old desert island question: Marcel Vigneron or "the dumbest Kardashian." To avoid answering, Andrés pretended his microphone had cut out by saying into the microphone that his microphone was not working.
10) The very first live auction was dinner for six at 12 DC restaurants — one for each month. Bourdain bid $6,000 and, joking that he didn't want this package to go to a New Yorker, Andrés threw in six seats at Minibar to sweeten the deal. Bourdain went up to $8,000 and tried to rile up the crowd: "In New York City, we would definitely be bidding higher. I'm just saying." It went for $9,000.
11) Bourdain made a joke about Mario Batali raising more than $9,000 just getting out of bed. Andrés: "After what he said about the bankers, I don't think he's raising much more."
12) Brian McBride made a dish using foie gras and Bourdain pointed out that it is still legal in such an "enlightened" place as DC.
13) Bourdain and Andrés go to Cayman together every year and Bourdain warned that "you haven't lived until you've seen José Andrés in a speedo." In turn, Andrés told everyone that Bourdain is going to do scuba for the first time this year — so now that Bourdain has annoyed every human being on the planet he is going to go annoy every fish in the ocean.
14) Even though Mike Isabella, Spike Mendelsohn and Jen Carroll were onstage before the program got underway, everyone pretended to be surprised that they were the contenders along with Carla Hall in the evening's "surprise battle." This is where it became clear that Bourdain and Andrés had totally orchestrated the evening's banter ripping on Top Chef contestants — probably planned over mezcal at Oyamel. Shrugging off the insults, Spike just reminded Bourdain that "everyone here has seen your nuts."
15) Spike made a potato-based dish in ball form and Andrés takes the opportunity to point out "Spike's balls."
16) Spectators standing at the foot of the stage kept calling out for Andrés and Bourdain to auction off more Minibar seats and to come fist-bump them. At some point they encouraged Andrés into chugging a beer onstage. Immediately following that, it was Bourdain who knocked over Mike Isabella and Jen Carroll's basket of pancetta. Spike and Carla won.
17) It turns out that Carla Hall does a really incredible auctioneer impression and they kept her onstage for the rest of the evening's live auctions.
18) The final auction is a trip to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. In his hard sell, Andrés promised to hand-feed caviar to the highest bidder and make sure they get invited to all the unofficial Aspen parties: "Where I go, you go."
19) Proof's Haidar Karoum pulled out the win against Todd Gray in the final battle of the night, earning him a pair of boxing gloves and eternal glory. Until next year.
20) As soon as the festivities were over, the crowd filtered out of the Reagan Building and over to Zaytinya for the after-party.
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