Fighting hunger never tasted so good!  From the first shot of toasted marshmallow milkshake to the last morsel of numerous desserts (we won’t tell how many we just had to taste), this was the tenth “epic night of smack talking, finger licking and knocking hunger out” as the Capital Food Fight website brags…and it’s all true.

We were among over 1,500 people who ate and drank their way through the event held at the Ronald Reagan building on November 11. This fundraiser for DC Central Kitchen has become a must-attend foodie event. MC’s and local favorites Carla Hall and Jose Andres were joined on-stage by celebrity judges Art Smith, Rick Bayless, Tom Coliccio and Todd English. Spike Gjerde, executive chef and co-owner of Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee, came out as champion.

As the battle raged on-stage, 75 area restaurants chopped, mixed, baked, roasted, whipped, sautéed, fried and prepped their way through all kinds of signature and unique dishes. Hot eateries like Le Diplomate and Toki Underground, classic places like 1789 and Founding Farmers, and JFE friend Equinox, among many others, wowed the crowds with such dishes as duck flatbread, crispy salmon sushi, short-rib tacos and truffle eggs served right in the egg shell. Nods to the season included pumpkin veloute (a smooth and creamy soup) and a honeycrisp apple gelato.

Things got even sweeter toward the end of the night. For the first time, the event featured a cake competition called High Stakes Cakes. Baltimore native Duff Goldman of the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” hosted the competition which produced some impressive and colorful results: towering layers of confection, intricately designed. The winner, Executive Pastry Chef Padua Player, included not only cake in his creation, but also representation of a salad, noting the importance of balanced nutrition at DC Central Kitchen.

The record-breaking number of attendees raised more than $600,000 in support of DC Central Kitchen’s work reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving health school meals and rebuidling urban food systems through social enterprise. After digesting all of the delicious fun, we are waiting with ready stomachs to support next year’s Capital Food Fight.

Smooth and creamy pumpkin veloute

Smooth and creamy pumpkin veloute

Toasted marshmallow milkshake

Toasted marshmallow milkshake

Tools of the trade ready for battle

Tools of the trade ready for battle

Over 1,500 savored the experience

Over 1,500 savored the experience