Local Chefs Compete Against their Moms in The Momma’s Boy Cook-off


Chefs vs. their moms. Is there a more ultimate throwdown?

Local chefs and a television personality were set to battle the person they learned from, the person who most likely sparked their love of cooking in the first place, Mom.
When I got the invite, I was thrilled. Not only did I want to witness the competition, but I could not wait to compare dishes, pick favorites, and even sample food from a few restaurants that are now on my dining to-do list.
The Momma’s Boy Cook-off, presented by East Coast Home Publishing, started with Chef Pat Pascarella of Bar Sugo in Norwalk and his mom, Gina. One night at Bar Sugo, the mother and son had differing opinions on who made the better meatball, and this event was born and went down on April 11, 2013 at Aitoro Appliance.
Chef Pat Pascarella and his mother, Gina

And their famous, but separate, meatball creations

Chef Pat’s Sugo Meatball

Gina’s meatball
But wait, more area chefs wanted in on this.
Bring in The Singing Chef, Neil Fuentes and his mother-in-law, Dee DiCrosta; Chef Michael Marchetti of Columbus Park Trattoriain Stamford and his mother, Marie; and Chef Kausik Roy of Tawa in Stamford and his mother, Shahala.
The second you hit the door your nose already knew something your taste buds were about to find out, this was going to be a good night.
Here’s the food breakdown and how I voted:
Chef Pat Pascarella made a meatball famous at his restaurant, the Sugo Meatball (beef, veal, pork) to challenge his mom’s beef and sausage version. This was a tough one based on the people I spoke with at the event but even Chef Pat thought his mom would win. And believe me, I eat at Bar Sugo often and Pat’s meatballs are fantastic. However, I voted for Gina’s meatballs. The combination of beef and sausage was unlike anything I’ve ever had and flavor wise were off the charts. That didn’t stop me from sampling each of their meatballs many times over.    
Chef Neil Fuentes treated us all to a live cooking demo to show us how he took Dee’s Italian chicken soup recipe and put a Latin twist on it. While I loved Dee’s soup, especially the flavor-packed chicken that she cooks on the bone, her son-in-law rocked it out with a Venezuelan chicken and beef soup where the spices really came through. Fuentes used ingredients like celery and yucca root, plantains, chicken, and where I’m certain the great taste came from…short ribs and neck bones. My vote was for The Singing Chef, who told us to look out for him in August because he’ll be on “Chopped” on the Food Network. 
Chef Neil Fuentes and his mother-in-law Dee DiCrosta

Chef Neil’s Venezuelan beef and chicken soup

Dee’s Italian chicken soup

Some of Chef Neil’s ingredients

And his finished soup

Dee’s finished product

They don’t call him The Singing Chef for nothing!

This guy knows how to have fun in the kitchen
One vote was a shock to myself. Chef Kausik Roy whipped up a Tilapia curry that made me break a sweat, and I love spice! Tilapia isn’t even my favorite fish but he won my vote over him mother’s chicken tikka masala, an Indian dish that I normally would choose over any others from that type of cuisine. The tikka masala was no slouch, so don’t think I’m being a hater. 
Chef Kausik Roy cooking up a Tilapia curry

Close-up curry shot

His mother, Shahala’s chicken tikka masala

The closest in taste had to be the battle of The Marchetti’s. They both get mad props for making homemade cavatelli on the spot. Fresh cavatelli, tomato, basil, mushrooms, a giant block of Parmigiano-Reggiano on their station, I was so there. Chef Michael’s stood out because you could really taste the basil and crushed red pepper. This was the closest one for me. I actually had to re-try both, happily. 
Chef Michael Marchetti making fresh cavatelli

More cavatelli

Both Michael and his mother, Marie, had to keep making cavatelli as guests went back for more and more

Yum!
So who won? Well, even I don’t know. You’ll have to stay tuned and check out http://www.w2wmagazine.com/for future results. And while you’re there, toss them a Facebook “like,” and be on the lookout for their magazine.
But in the meantime, look at the photos and DROOL!

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