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John Mangelos in chef showdown
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The Barnwood Restaurant’s John Mangelos set for Chefs’ Competition at Modesto’s Double Tree. - photo by LENN KAHL/ The Bulletin
RIPON - The Barnwood Restaurant Chef John Mangelos is going on stage Thursday  to compete in the “Culinary Challenge” before some 750 guests in the Modesto Centre Plaza to benefit the Doctors Medical Center Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Six chefs were nominated to compete in the cooking extravaganza that includes one secret ingredient they have to work into their recipes, Mangelos said.  Of the six first nominated by other chefs, members of the hospital board and the community at large by email, three were selected to compete on stage in front of the live dining audience – an “Iron Chef” competition.

Mangelos said he was very lucky that he was one of the three chosen with a large amount of votes that were collected in his name.

“I feel when you get ratified in a vote like that it makes you feel good and like you are doing something right.  I feel very honored that so many people were so kind to vote for me,” Mangelos said.

The event will include a food vendors’ section where different restaurants and wineries will be presenting their faire.  From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. guests will browse around the stations sampling what is before them including a Barnwood Restaurant offering.  The first half hour is for VIPs followed by the general public who may either take a seat or continue to enjoy enjoying the offerings  and talking with friends.

The secret ingredient is to be announced at 6:30 p.m.  Each chef may have two sous-chef helpers. At 6:30 to 6:45 the chefs will consult with their own sous-chefs.  Mangelos has chosen two from his restaurant to assist him, Mike Arends, who has been with him for 26 years and Bruce Dix, a member of his staff for 10 years.  He described them as his right and left arms.

“We will decide what we are going to produce at that time.  They have given us a list of raw materials to use and the secret ingredient to make the dishes,” he said.

The challenge calls for the chefs to each present four different dishes incorporating that secret ingredient in addition to any five condiments each chef wishes to bring from his own kitchen.

Mangelos said he will personally bring sea salt, the Barnwood seasoning blend, truffle oil, tempura flour, and sichuan pepper corn to enhance what is already being provided.  

They will have one hour to create four dishes at which time each team is to start plating for the five judges and five guest tables – a total of 36 plates for the four entrée creations.  The other chefs  are using Gallo Wines, however Mangelos has chosen McManis Family Vineyard Wine because that is his choice of wine used in his restaurant.

Cost for the event is $50 in advance or $60 at the door sponsored by Doctors Medical Center.  It is the one major fund raiser put on by DMC each year.  

The competitors in the Culinary Clash will be judged with a possible 10 points on taste, five points on creativity and five points on the plating presentation.  

Mangelos has served as the official chef for the Olympics in Turino, Italy and worked on the build out for the recent catering  preparation at the Olympics in China.  He had to leave China early because of a wedding catering commitment in Germany.

The people attending the Modesto event as guests have the opportunity to vote for their favorite chef.   There will be three containers set up with a picture of each chef posted on the containers.  Guests are being sold tickets at $1 per ticket to go into the containers.  The chef with the most votes is going to be crowned “People’s Choice.”

The chef who creates the best food will be called the “Culinary Clash Winner.”