Chef-at-the-Market Competition @ Westport Farmers' Market

Maddie Phelps

Watching the chefs of the hit TV show “Chopped” scramble to cook up their finest creations while the clock ticks away is truly entertaining. But watching such a competition in real life takes the cake. While the Westport Farmers’ Market didn’t bring the cast, crew, and chefs of “Chopped” to downtown Westport, they did emulate the cook-off with their very own version: “The Chef at the Market Competition.” Here’s a recap of the first “Chef At The Market” throw down, but there are many more to come. Check out the schedule below.

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Anthony Kostelis of The Whelk, Anthony Rinaldi of Kawa Ni, and Ben Freemole of GrayBarns represented their respective restaurants in the second installment of this friendly cooking competition. Tasked with cooking their take on eggs and toast, the chefs were each handed a $20 bill to browse the selection produce at the Farmers’ Market and stock up on ingredients. And, in true “Chopped” fashion, they were given 30 minutes to cook the tastiest dish of eggs and toast they’d ever made.

After a quick 30 minutes filled with intense preparation, the chefs placed their dishes in front of three volunteer judges. Ranging from sunny side up to fried, the judges had a variety of eggs to taste paired with an equally impressive array of toasts. After approximately 5 minutes of munching and deliberation, it was announced that Chef Anthony Kostelis was victorious.

As a returning chef to “Chef at the Market,” Kostelis acknowledged the competition as an opportunity for bonding with other local chefs.

“[The competition] a good way to get some chefs together that maybe don’t know each other and become friends through competing,” Kostelis said after his victory. “In this state, we’re kind of locked into our own restaurants, wherein big cities, a lot of cooks and chefs get together and have a big community. This is kind of the start of that.”

As for what was the key to winning and doing so in great time, Kostelis said that making good use of his time has been a lifelong skill.

“I’ve lived my whole life trying to be as efficient as possible,” he said. “If I’m on the couch at home, I think about what I can get on my way to the fridge. My whole life is lived like that. So, last night, I walked through my ideas in my head and exactly what I needed to make it happen equipment and ingredient wise.”

The “Anthonys” claimed the podium this week, as Anthony Rinaldi was awarded runner up in the competition. As a busy chef, Rinaldi recognized the importance of a simple cook-off in uniting follow chefs through something they love.

“It’s really great because we’re all kind of friends that know each other, but we never get to hang out because we’re always in the kitchen,” Rinaldi said. “A friendly competition where we really don’t care who wins or loses is a great way for all of us to hang out.”

If you missed this round of battle, “Chef at the Market” competitions will be held on the third Thursday of every month until the final competition in October. So, clear 30 minutes of your Thursday morning to watch some talented chefs fight to take the crown. Trust me, this competition gives “Chopped” a run for its money.

Check out the action at The Westport Farmers’ Market Thursdays 10-2PM 50 Imperial Avenue, Westport