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Annual Mason Dixon Chef Tournament Benefits Meals On Wheels

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Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — So who’s the best chef in Baltimore? We’re about to find out as the annual Mason-Dixon Master Chef Tournament continues.

Ron Matz reports it will be a food fight to the finish and all for a good cause.

Sixteen chefs are competing in the tournament for the coveted champion’s jacket.

“It’s a single elimination, so each week we lose a chef,” said organizer Erik Folkart, of the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament. “We work down to the final match, which this year is August 17.”

The great food is dished up at Mari Luna Bistro on Cathedral Street, a benefit for Meals On Wheels.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s friendly for the most part. It’s for a good charity, Meals On Wheels. It gives people a chance to see what we do in the kitchen,” said Chef Bill Hughes, of Barracudas restaurant.

Chef Christopher Lewis of Iron Bridge Wine Company is creating some caramelized pistachios.

“It’s so great to meet other chefs in the industry. You learn so much from each other. It’s for a great cause. Friends and family come out so it’s good for everybody,” Lewis said,

“You’re literally within inches of the chefs that are cooking. You can smell the aromas as the food is prepared. You can watch it from start to finish and make your own mental notes of who you think is going to win,” Folkart said.

Thirty audience members get ringside seats, where they will be judges and taste the great food!

“It’s very intimate. Only about 90 tickets are available, 30 of those are the judging experience. You actually get to taste what both chef teams prepare and get to vote,” Folkart said.

The chefs have 90 minutes to prepare their creations.

“You practice in your kitchen, in your restaurant, and you’re here and it’s so much faster. That hour-and-a-half goes like 30 minutes, but it’s lots of fun,” Lewis said.

“The winner gets the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament jacket. They win $1,000 in cash and $1,000 in assorted prizes,” Folkart said. “We have 10 percent of the proceeds going to Meals On Wheels, our charity partner. We’ve already had a number of sellout nights.”

The eight-week tournament resumes Tuesday night. For ticket information click here.

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