Art You Can Eat!

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Every culinary competition worth watching comes down to those final moments when contestants skillfully arrange their creations on the plate before the dish is judged.

That’s where the drama unfolds.

Tucson Foodie understands this and will present their 2nd annual Art of Plating competition at the Copenhagen Furniture Store on Thursday, January 30. The best chefs from across the Old Pueblo will showcase their plating skills and duke it out for bragging rights. Proceeds benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

“It's a fast-paced competition that’s a combination of delicious food that has to be beautiful,” said Jennifer Teufel Schoenberger, event organizer and partner at Tucson Foodie. “It has to be beautiful, interesting and have a creative presentation, but at the same time it has to taste delicious.”

Chefs will be paired up and compete head to head in five-minute rounds until the top plating chef emerges. This year’s event will feature 11 chefs, such as last year’s Art of Plating winner, Chef Gina Skelton of First We Eat Catering and Confections, and Dominique Stoller, owner of Doma’s Delights, who won last year’s Knife Fight, a local underground culinary competition.

Newcomer to the competition, Wendy Gauthier, owner of Chef Chic Catering and Events, says she’s a little nervous since the best of the best in Tucson’s culinary community will be competing, but she’s also excited to show what she can bring to the table.

“We’ve been playing with how to plate it and I think we’re ready,” Gauthier said.

Her staff at Chef Chic helped her come up with their dish, a goat cheese custard with a celery sorbet and roasted beets. While they may be ready, Gauthier said they’re still testing things out just to see if anything can be visually improved.

“No matter what I think in my head of how something is going to look, it’s never how it turns out,” Gauthier said with a chuckle. "In our heads we were going to put this one component on, and then we put it on and we were all like...no...no."

Guests at the event will be able to view the dishes in their full culinary glory before sampling the beautiful creations. Drinks from Sand-Reckoner Vineyard and Ten55 Brewing Company will also be complementary to attendees.

The event will be judged by international food and beverage writer Edie Jarolim, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona CEO Michael McDonald and Tucson Museum of Art CEO Jeremy Mikolajczak.

This year’s Art of Plating will start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-plating-tickets-72735330331. Copenhagen Furniture Store is located at 3660 E. Fort Lowell Road. 

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