Ready, Set, Cook! Fast and Furious Forks Back at it Again!
Earlier this week, the kitchens at Ivy Tech Culinary Center were a buzz with local chefs competing for the Fast & Furious Forks top chef award—a cooking competition benefitting Second Helpings, an Indianapolis based community kitchen that teaches people to cook nutrition meals with donations of perishable and overstocked foods.
Four teams consisting of a sous chef, pastry chef and Ivy Tech culinary students were given the same ingredients plus one mystery ingredient, and asked to prepare a savory dish alongside a sweet dish for their version of brinner—a breakfast/dinner meal combination. Piazza Produce provided the chefs with baby spinach, micro greens arugula, eggs, sweet potatoes, and strawberries, Traders Point Creamery provided blocks of organic cheese and each team was given a different protein from a local vendor (specifics below). Once teams assembled, they were given exactly one hour to create what they hoped would be the right combination of sweet and savory to woo tasters into voting them the competition’s winner.
Event Emcee, Brittany Smith of Yelp Indy, kept attendees entertained with short interviews direct from the kitchens, all broadcasted on overhead screens in the main staging area as well as on Facebook Live. Guests snacked on charcuterie plates and nibbles courtesy of Goose the Market, Joe’s Butcher Shop, Saint Adrian's Meats and Sausage and Traders Point Creamery and sipped Liberation Roasting ice coffee and other libations provided by Hotel Tango, Indiana Small Batch and Garden Party Hard Soda—all while watching the chefs create their masterpieces within the 60-minute time restraint.
This year’s teams consisted of some of central Indiana’s top sous chefs including Black Market’s Shelva Floyd, TongueNCheek’s Josh Baker, The Loft at Traders Point Creamery’s Michael Blagg, and Billy Margrave of Napolese. Pastry chefs were Keith Snyder of Ocean Prime, Ben Hardy of Gallery Pastry Shop, Café Patachou’s Jason Bridgewater, and Maxx Kimbler from The Loft at Traders Point Creamery. (Full bios at the conclusion of this article.)
When the clock ran out, meals were plated and five judges—Liz Biro, food writer and editor for the Indy Star; Fox59 TV personality Sherman Burdette; Chef Jeff Bricker of Ivy Tech Cullinary Center; Chef Vincent Kinkade of Second helping; and Elise Shrock, Director of Operations for Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association—sampled the creations and declared Team Blink 18-Whew aka Tongue N Cheek (Josh Baker and Jason Bridgewater) the Fast & Furious Forks 2017 winners for their iconic brinner rendering of fluffy scrambled eggs, thick slices of garlic sausage, arugula and pesto; and a basil-laced shortbread cookie topped with cilantro cream, strawberries and balsamic.
The Crowd Favorite award—voted on by attendees—went to Team Mint Jelly & the Mutton Chops (Shelva Ford and Maxx Kimbler) for their take on a Croque Monsieur with local ham and cheese served over a bed of mixed greens; and a mini Dutch baby crowned off with double-basil diplomat cream, a fresh strawberry and finished with a divine basil sugar combination.
Here's the recipes for the dishes, Sweet Dutch Baby with Roasted Strawberries and Basil Suga and Sweet Potato Eggs with Mimosa Pesto, and you can also find your way to one of their restaurants and taste for yourself what delightful and ingenious creations these talented, Indiana chefs have on the menu.
Cooking Ingredients Provided By
Produce provided by: Piazza Produce
Cheese provided by: Traders Point Creamery
- Edible Indy and C&T Design
- Piazza Produce
- Viking Lamb
- Tyner Pond Farms
- Joe's Butcher Shop
- Smoking Goose
- Traders Point Creamery
- Cunningham Restaurant Group
- Hamilton Beach Commercial
- A Classic Party
- Dexter Knives
- Liberation Roasting
- Hotel Tango
- Indiana Small Batch
- Ash Blaedes Custom Knives
- St. Adrian Meats and Sausage
- Batch No. 2
- Garden Party Hard Soda
- My Pretty Little Pretzel
- C & T Design
Winning Team Prizes - All provided by C & T Design
Sous Chef - Hamilton Beach Blender | C & T Design $750 Gift Card
Pastry Chef - Globe 5 quart countertop mixer | C & T Design $500 Gift Card
Sous Assistant - Globe Induction Range and Vollrath Pan
Pastry Assistant - Hamilton Beach Immersion Hand Mixer
Ivy Tech Students - Dexter Knives
Crowd Favorite Prizes (Provided by Cunningham Restaurant Group)
Sous and Pastry Chefs - $100 Cunningham Restaurant Group Gift Card
Assistants - $50 Cunningham Restaurant Group Gift Card
All non-winning participating chefs received
- $250 gift card to C & T Design
- John Boos Counter Cutting Boards
All Ivy Tech students received
- Custom aprons
- Gift cards from Joe’s Butcher Shop
Chef Bios* and Cooking Teams
Sous Chef: Billy Margrave | Napolese
Pastry Chef Keith Snyder | Ocean Prime
Sous Chef Assistant: Josh Boswell | Napolese
Pastry Assistant: None
Billy Margrave currently works for Patachou’s Napolese Pizzariea. Originally from Cincinnati, he has traveled and lived all over the Midwest. He graduated with a history degree before deciding to enroll in culinary school. He has always been in kitchens and loves the stressful, fast-paced atmosphere. He is married with a brand new 10-week-old son and four dogs.
Keith Snyder was born and raised in Indy. He has been married for 20 years and has two kids. Other than a paper route, the service industry has been his life. He enjoys time with his family, fishing, golf and anything outside.
Team: Mint Jelly & the Mutton Chops
Sous Chef Shelva Floyd | Black Market
Pastry Chef Maxx Kimbler | The Loft at Traders Point Creamery
Sous Chef Assistant: None
Pasty Assistant: Anna Adams
Shelva Floyd is sous chef at Black Market. After leaving the world of finance to pursue her dream of cooking great food (and not just eating it), she graduated with honors from Ivy Tech Culinary Center. Since then, she has been fortunate enough to work as sous chef in some of the best kitchens in Indianapolis, including The Indigo Duck and Rook. Next up, she is reuniting with her original head chef from The Indigo Duck at the new Taxman Brewing opening soon in Fortville. Shelva credits her success to learning from each of the chefs and cooks with whom she has worked and, of course, strong black coffee to get through those double shifts.
Maxx Kimbler is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in 2010. Maxx spent time working in restaurants in Nantucket, Atlanta, and his hometown of Columbus, OH. His past experiences include cake decorating, bread baking, catering and large-scale production for casinos and aquariums. Currently employed as the pastry chef for The Loft at Traders Point Creamery, Maxx has a passion of taking advantage of the unique flavors an organic dairy farm has to offer.
Team: Blink-18 Whew
Sous Chef Josh Baker | Tongue N Cheek Truck
Pastry Chef Jason Bridgewater | Patachou, Inc.
Sous Chef Assistant: John Herndon
Pastry Assistant: Sam Blythe
"Our team was born of a world of upheaval and darkness," says Josh Baker. "We are here to merely bring joy through food and hospitality. Age is but a number and we are here to simply give flavor to a world where talent and experience mean nothing until we are pitted against formidable opponents."
Jason Bridgewater’s eclectic background and passion for all things pastry led him to his current position as pastry chef for Patachou. He spent 10 years as an Indianapolis Public Schools theatre teacher before flexing his culinary muscle and joining The Capital Grille as assistant pastry chef. His experience there led him to spend 10 years as the pastry chef and wedding cake designer for Angie’s Cookies By Design. He joined Patachou, Inc. in 2012 and continues to delight guests with the beloved Cafe Patachou cakes as well as creations for Napolese Pizzerias, Petite Chou Bistro and more.
Team: Bros Before Rolls
Sous Chef Michael Blagg | The Loft at Traders Point Creamery
Executive Chef Ben Hardy | The Gallery Pastry Shop
Sous Chef Assistant: Nathan Friday
Michael Blagg graduated from the Art Institute in San Diego. His first kitchen job was at Smith’s Row Food and Spirits in Columbus, IN. He loved the restaurant environment so much that he decided to go to culinary school. In San Diego he worked at several restaurants and for a James Beard award winning chef. He worked at Restaurant Tallent for five years and was his sous chef when the restaurant was sold. For the last year, Michael has been whipping up amazing dishes as the sous chef at the Loft at Traders Point Creamery.
Chef Ben Hardy graduated Summa Cum Laude from Le Cordon Bleu International Culinary Academy with a degree in pastry arts. He has been a pastry chef for nearly 15 years; spanning his experience in chocolatiers, hotels, country clubs and now instructor to future pastry chefs. He has also received gold and medaled in a multitude of American Culinary Federation competitions, is a Certified Executive Pastry Chef, and was most recently inducted into The Disciples of Escoffier elite chef's society.
*All bios provided by chefs.