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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Costa Mesa Chef Challenge

Posted on August 12, 2013 | 11:28am | Travel Costa Mesa

To close out the OC Fair and highlight the upcoming Costa Mesa Restaurant Week August 16-23, 2013, local chefs Massimo Navarretta and Alan Greeley competed in a “Chopped” style chef’s competition.

Costa Mesa Chef BattleThe chefs’ talents were on display for a live audience inside the promenade at the OC Fair and for broadcast on the Dining With Dills radio show on KABC 790 AM.  Peter Dills hosted and provided commentary for the event.  He incorporated his passion for food with his great sense of humor to create a competitive and comedic atmosphere.  Dills is a leading food critic in Southern California and helps his listeners find the best dining experiences, incredible food and wine and introduces new cuisine.

Peter Dills of Dining with DillsCosta Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, Celebrity Chef Susan “The Bikini Chef” Irby and the Orange County Register’s Nancy Luna aka the “Fast Food Maven” served as judges during the competition.

Luna, Irby and MensingerBoth chefs were given a list of ingredients to choose from to prepare 4 different dishes for the competition.  The chefs battle started with the introduction of the “secret” ingredient: Corvina Sea Bass.  The only rule for the battle was that sea bass must be incorporated into each dish.

Chefs Battle CuisineIt was incredible to see the two gastronomic gurus going head to head while flexing their culinary muscle.  Talent isn’t the only thing the two competitors have in common as both chefs definitely have big personalities and seemed as comfortable on stage as they do in the kitchen.

Greeley and NavarrettaItalian-born Navarretta sang and danced  while he prepared his dishes while Costa Mesa native Greeley cracked jokes and sipped Heinekens.  The two had a noticeable chemistry and provided the audience with a friendly and entertaining banter.

Massimo NavarrettaWhile both chefs prepared delicious and creative dishes, only one could be considered the Costa Mesa King of Cuisine.  As the competition came to a close and all of the food was consumed by the judges, it was the local boy Chef Greeley who prevailed.

Alan GreeleyChef Greeley and Chef Navarretta both own and operate acclaimed restaurants in Costa Mesa.  Greeley blends his culinary creativity into every dish at his restaurant, The Golden Truffle.  The Newport Boulevard landmark has been a locals’ favorite over 30 years.  With a rotating weekly menu, Greeley creates dishes based on seasonal ingredients, and keeps diners returning time and again for innovative fare.  He uses a wide range of influences to create inspirational cuisine.  For an truly unique dining experience, visit the Golden Truffle during restaurant week.  See the menu here.

Massimo with the JudgesNavarretta uses only 100% natural, hormone free, antibiotic free, high quality ingredients at his Onotria Wine Country Cuisine restaurant.  Located on Bristol Street just south of the LAB and the CAMP, Onotria is marked by the small garden in front of the restaurant.  The garden is not just for show, Navarretta uses it to grow fresh ingredients for the dishes he prepares.  He pairs his culinary talents with his deep knowledge of wine to create an incredible dining experience.  Navarretta invites guests to savor the gastronomy and oenology from his home of Campania, Italy while dining at Onotria.  See the Onotria CMRW menu here.

Alan GreeleyFor the complete list of the 40 Costa Mesa Restaurant Week participants, visit CostaMesaRestaurantWeek.org or the CMRW Facebook page.  We’d love to see what you’re eating during restaurant week, so don’t forget to use the hashtag #CMRW on Twitter and Instagram.