By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Local chefs are gearing up for the 6th annual Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament.

Ron Matz has more.

“This is kind of like the NCAA tournament meets one of the cooking shows,” said Erik Folkert, one of the founders of the event. “We have 16 restaurants who will compete for the title of Mason Dixon Master Chef.”

The competition runs begins June 7 and ends on Aug. 14. The host is the Inn at the Colonnade Baltimore, where you can get up close and personal with the competitors as they compete in challenges like “battle breakfast,” “battle bacon” and “battle chocolate.”

“You really get that close to the chefs,” according to Folkert. “You can walk right up to the tables and get to walk within within inches of the cooking. There’s really no better experience.”

Last year’s winner was Chef Jirat Suphrom-in of My Thai Baltimore.

One of this year’s competitors, James Calvert of The Hard Yacht Cafe in Dundalk, says he’s already feeling the heat.

“Its pretty intense,” he said. “It’s quite exciting. My nerves are rolling but I feel confident we can show our stuff. We’re in the restaurant every day. Now that we found out we’re a part of this, we’re working with new entrees and appetizers and try to make things happen that we can utilize here.”

Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.

For more tournament information, visit www.mdmasterchef.com.

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