It was no ordinary foodie competition when three intrepid chefs went head to head in a test of who could make the most compelling dinner using ingredients from McDonald's. Yes, the hamburger and fries McDonald's. It was an all-in-good-fun fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
For this culinary fete, the Omni Hotel ballroom was transformed into a test kitchen where chefs Bruce Molzan, Rey Darthard and Michael "Gabe" Gabriel worked surprising wizardry with their limited ingredients.
Darthard, executive chef for the Houston Rockets, was the big winner earning both the People's Choice award and the Red Shoe Chef Award for his Pechuga de Pollo and signature cheesecake. He clearly impressed judges Cleverley Stone, McDonald’s executive chef Dan Coudreaut, and 2012 Masterchef winner Christine Ha.
All three chefs were winners with Gabriel, owner of BTG 670 food truck, earning best entree award with his filet-of-fish cakes and Molzen taking best dessert honors for his Cookie Cup with pastry cream and McGriddle topping.
"Being able to showcase McDonald’s ingredients in a gourmet setting is a testament to our food quality," said Matt Kades, president of the McDonald's Owners Association of Greater Houston. "It was obvious everyone went above and beyond to create this unique culinary experience, especially the chefs.”
Special recognition was given to the event's honoree Flo McGee, recognized with the inaugural Hero of the Heart award for her long-time support of the charity.
Sampling the unusual fare were Ronald McDonald House Charities president Debbie Adams and KHOU Channel 11's Chita Johnson and Ron Trevino.