October 23, 2014 / / Events & Fundraisers

Chef ML Carroll Crowned First-Ever Valley Chef Showdown Champion

The inaugural Valley Chef Showdown is over, and Chef ML Carroll, owner of Canapés Catering in Frederick, Maryland,has been crowned the first-ever Valley Chef Showdown Champion. Chef Carroll emerged victorious during the final round held Sept. 29 at here The Historic McFarland House, but not without a valiant effort from runner-up Chef Ed Matthews, owner of One Block West in Winchester, Virginia.


Chef ML Carroll, owner of Canapés Catering in Frederick, Md., has been crowned the first-ever Valley Chef Showdown Champion. Pictured, from left to right, are Chef Carroll’s sous chef, Lewis Simon; Chef Carroll; Chef Brad Spates, executive chef at The Historic McFarland House; Chef Ed Matthews, Valley Chef Showdown runner-up and owner of One Block West in Winchester, Virginia; and Chef Matthews’ sous chef, Tony Howe.

Final Round: Turning Up the Heat
After the excitement of rounds one and two, during which Chef Alyson Zimmerman, executive chef at Domestic in Shepherdstown, was eliminated, the competition culminated with a final round that tasked the final contending chefs with preparing a six-course meal for the 115 diners in attendance. Chef Carroll’s dishes included butternut squash bisque, Korean braised short ribs and coconut cake with strawberry-pear sauce, while Chef Matthews prepared a fall-inspired sweet-and-sour kale salad, Tuscan pork shoulder and triple-chocolate orange cremoso.

The well-fed audience then rated each course according to creativity, presentation, and taste. Chef Matthews won the appetizer course, while Chef Carroll won the entree and dessert courses, making her the official Valley Chef Showdown Champion.

“It really was a team effort,” said Chef Carroll, who was assisted during the competition by her sous chef, Lewis Simon. “All of us at Canapés won the competition, not just me.”

Fun For a Good Cause
While only one chef was victorious, each chef who competed in the Valley Chef Showdown will receive money to donate to the charity of his or her choice. The Historic McFarland House also plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the event to the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle.

“Events like this are not only great for area restaurants,” said Chef Brad Spates, executive chef here at The Historic McFarland House and organizer of the competition. “It’s a lot of fun for the local chefs involved, and it’s for a great cause.”

Mark Your Calendars—The Valley Chef Showdown Will Be Back!
Overall, we’d say our inaugural Valley Chef Showdown was a huge success. It was an exciting and fun competition highlighted not only by the tremendous talents of some of the region’s top culinary talent, but also by their creative and delicious dishes.

And we can’t wait to do it again next year!

That’s right, folks—the Valley Chef Showdown will be back! And next time, we’re sweetening the deal and making it a pastry cook-off. Mark your calendars for April 11, 2015. That’s when the competition will heat up again.

Stay tuned to our Facebook pages, www.facebook.com/valleychefshowdown and www.facebook.com/HistoricMcFarlandHouse, for the latest news and updates about the Valley Chef Showdown.

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