Local chefs face off in kitchen during cooking competition

Published 12:07 am Friday, February 6, 2015

Carriage House restaurant chef Bingo Starr hugs Copiah-Lincoln Community College culinary school students Sharon Mulvihill, left, and Jackie Phillips, right, after claiming his second straight Co-Lin Chopped championship. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Carriage House restaurant chef Bingo Starr hugs Copiah-Lincoln Community College culinary school students Sharon Mulvihill, left, and Jackie Phillips, right, after claiming his second straight Co-Lin Chopped championship. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Something good was cooking at Copiah Lincoln Community College in Natchez Thursday, but it only left viewers wanting more.

A number of Co-Lin students, staffers and guests watched two Natchez chefs battle it out in the kitchen.

Starr and Castle Restaurant executive chef Brad Seyfarth compete against each other in the competition. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Starr and Castle Restaurant executive chef Brad Seyfarth compete against each other in the competition. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

The second annual Co-Lin Chopped Competition featured Chef Bingo Starr of the Carriage House restaurant and Executive Chef Brad Seyfarth of the Castle Restaurant.

Co-Lin students Mollie Simpson, Maya Fitzgerald, Sharon Mulvihill and Jackie Phillips joined the two esteemed chefs who competed against one another before the audience.

“Two students are on each side helping us,” Starr said. “So it’s about involving and encouraging them.”

Organized by Susanna Johnson-Sharp and the Culinary Arts program, each cook was given mystery baskets filled with tasteful ingredients to create a culinary work of art within a 45-minute time frame.

Starr, who prepared seared pork tenderloin, took home the Chopped Competition title once again.

“It’s genius,” Adams County Board of Supervisor David Carter said, who served as a guest judge.

Last year, Starr competed and won the competition against Chef Michael Minor of 1818 At Monmouth by sticking to what he knows.

That same strategy applied to Starr’s victory this year.

“You just got to look out and get organized, that’s it,” Starr said. “Just do stuff you know and try not to re-invent the world.”

Starr and Seyfarth, however, are no strangers to one another — having known each other for years.

Seyfarth said he enjoyed cooking alongside Starr in a friendly competition.

“It’s all about having fun, working with these young chefs and giving them the experience of working in restaurants,” Seyfarth said.

Fitzgerald, who assisted Seyfarth, said she assisted Starr last year.

“It was a good experience,” Fitzgerald said.

Phillips, who assisted Starr, said it was fun to come up with ideas based on the provided ingredients from the Culinary Arts Program.

Event emcee Andy Guida, operation manager and program director at Big River Broadcasting in Ferriday, pushed the judges throughout the event to provide their thoughts on the meals set before them.

“There’s nothing like witnessing the hustle and bustle of a kitchen,” Guida said.

Starr will return to Co-Lin next year to defend his title as Co-Lin Chopped champion.