(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Local chefs walked away with big wins at a charity cooking competition in Clarendon last night.
The Arlington County Fire Department’s finest firehouse cooks faced off against three groups of local professional chefs in a reality TV-style cooking competition where the competitors had 25 minutes to whip up dishes using only ingredients found in the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s pantries.
Judges Scott Brodbeck of ARLnow.com, Becky Krystal of the Washington Post and Chef George Pagonis of Kapnos Taverna sampled each dish before choosing a winner of the round by ringing a large bell, signaling a vote for the firefighters, or putting on a chef’s hat. Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery served as emcee for the night.
At the end of the night, the local chefs walked away from the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) with two of the coveted “Golden Eggplant” awards.
Arlington County Fire Department’s Lt. Romulius Queen and firefighter Frank Rachal took home the first “Golden Eggplant” of the night with their Southern Style Fried Chicken topped with a homemade barbecue sauce and accompanied by a zucchini pasta with a thai peanut and ginger sauce. All three judges rang the bell.
“That fried chicken, he really nailed it,” Pagonis said.
Queen and Rachal beat out SER Restaurant chef and co-owner Josu Zubikarai, who made Rulada chicken ragout with mushrooms and spicy vegetables.
It was Queen’s first time competing in AFAC’s Chiefs vs. Chefs event.
“It feels good to go home with a trophy instead of going home crying,” he said.
Chef Tom Madrecki of Chez le Commis took home the second “Eggplant” with his caramelized onion soup with buttermilk, accompanied by homemade bread with butter. He earned the votes of two out of the three judges for his simple but flavorful soup.
Cooking with only the food in AFAC’s pantry was a challenge, Madrecki said.
“It’s reflective of what thousands of Arlington families have to do every day, so it’s very rewarding,” he said.
Facing off against ACFD’s finest brought its own difficulties as the firefighters were both skilled chefs and have a connection to the community, Madrecki said. Votes for the firefighters were applauded by the crowd, whereas votes for the chefs were greeted by good-natured boos.
“We’re the underdogs as the chef because they’re the ones out in the community everyday,” he said. “They’re the ones protecting us so it’s an honor to cook with them.”
Cooking is part of the firehouse lifestyle, said Acting Chief Joesph Reshetar, adding that the firefighters often try out new dishes on their coworkers.
“The firehouse is where they experiment,” he said. “If you can please us, if you can please a group of people, you know you’re on to something.”
‘Monica the Medium’ Renewed — The ABC Family series “Monica the Medium” will be back for a second season. The show stars Monica Ten-Kate, a 21-year-old college student with ties to Arlington’s Fairlington neighborhood. The first season finale will air tonight. [Deadline Hollywood]
‘Most Interesting Man in Arlington’ Selected — According to a competition in Clarendon over the weekend, the “Most Interesting Man in Arlington” is an economist who has lived in Arlington for a year and a half and can turn the word “kumquat” into a description of a sex act. [DCist]
NAACP Honors Superintendent — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP has honored Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy with its Community Appreciation Award. Murphy “exemplifies what it means to be a leader in education,” the organization said. APS has seen gains in minority achievement under Murphy’s administration. [InsideNova]
Three firefighters will see if they can handle the heat in the kitchen as they take on three local chefs in an annual cooking competition and fundraiser in Clarendon.
The Chiefs v. Chefs 4: Too Hot to Handle challenges chefs and firefighters to cook three courses using ingredients found in the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s pantry. The competition will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) on Oct. 28.
“Pick your favorite team and watch three of the area’s most scintillating chefs go toe-to-toe with three of Arlington’s hottest firehouse cooks in a three-course throw-down! This infamous on-stage battle is on fire as each team tries to impress our panel of judges and set their taste buds ablaze,” AFAC said in a press release.
This year, Chef Josu Zubikarai of SER Restaurant, Chef Tom Madrecki of Chez le Commis and Chef Jesus Guzman from the U.S. Navy will take on three different firefighters. The competitors will battle to impress judges Chef George Pagonis of Kapnos Taverna, Becky Krystal from the Washington Post and Scott Brodbeck of ARLnow.com to win the “Golden Eggplant.”
“This competition is going to be a challenge, but it’s nothing like the one faced every day by hundreds of Arlington residents. It’s on us to raise awareness and help AFAC continue to deliver positive results in our local community. As a chef, what better way to do that than to show the judges how you can transform commonplace ingredients into something interesting, complex and unique,” Madrecki said in a statement. “It’s going to be an uphill battle against the chiefs, but no matter the results, the real winner will be Arlington families who need greater access to nutritious food.”
Tickets for the competition start at $100, with a package of two tickets selling for $175. Proceeds will go to helping AFAC feed Arlington families.
County Seeks Input for County Manager Search — Arlington County is seeking public input as it begins its search for a new county manager. “In the coming months, [executive recruiters] will be evaluating candidates for the position,” the county said in a press release. “They are seeking your input, suggestions, and comments on what will be important in the selection of a County Manager.” The county is conducting an online survey and holding a public meeting on July 20 to gather public input. [Arlington County]
Tejada Attends Trump Protest — Retiring Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada is getting a bit of national media attention after joining other local officials in a demonstration in front of Donald Trump’s under-construction hotel in D.C. The “Dump Trump” protest was held in response to the Republican presidential candidate’s inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants. [CBS News, MyFoxDC]
Bernie Sanders Speaks in Ballston — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drew a “boisterous crowd” of nearly 500 supporters at a policy forum in Ballston last night. Sanders railed against the political influence of the “billionaire class” while calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage, expanded Social Security, guaranteed health care coverage and free public college tuition. [Washington Post]
Arlington College Student Gets Reality TV Show — Monica Ten-Kate, a 21-year-old Fairlington resident who is currently attending Penn State, has scored her own reality TV series — “Monica the Medium” — on ABC Family. Ten-Kate claims she can talk to the dead, and the “docuseries” will follow her as she balances classes and homework with her part-time profession of charging people money for “readings.” The show will premiere on Aug. 25. [Patch, ABC Family]
Signature to Launch Revamped Singing Competition — Signature Theatre in Shirlington will launch “Signature Voice,” a new singing competition, at its annual open house on Aug. 2. “The new ‘Signature Voice’ competition will replace the popular Signature Idol Competition held over the last five years,” according to a news report. “Held in Signature’s MAX Theatre, the competition will host a panel of three celebrity judges in search of the best undiscovered singers in the DC region.” [Broadway World]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington Scores Lidl HQ — Arlington County will be the home of the new $77 million U.S. corporate headquarters of Lidl, a discount German grocery chain that’s seeking to expand in the United States. The headquarters is expected to create 500 new jobs in Arlington and will anchor the National Gateway office development near Potomac Yard. “Lidl chose Arlington for its U.S. corporate headquarters because of our commitment to diversifying our economy, a terrific workforce, regional transit connections and access to a major airport,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Arlington Teen Advances in Singing Competition — Kenmore Middle School student Samantha Rios, who is competing on the Telemundo singing program “La Voz Kids,” has advanced to the semifinals and is now being coached by Reggaeton musician Daddy Yankee. [Washington Post]
Young Republicans Blast Anti-Gun-Store Tactics — Opponents of a gun store that’s trying to open in Cherrydale are urging their supporters to confront the owners of the store and the shopping center in which it’s opening in person. That has Republicans crying foul. “Having exhausted reasonable avenues, the anti-gunners encourage their flock to harass property owner,” said the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. [Twitter]
Immigration Center to Open in Crystal City — A planned immigration services center in Crystal City, which has been delayed due to legal wrangling over President Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, is now reportedly set to open soon. Hundreds of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will be working out of the office building at 2200 Crystal Drive, processing immigration applications and petitions. [Breitbart]
Praise for ‘Alice’ Production — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “Alice in Wonderland” is garnering critical kudos for its star, Brandi Moore, a Harvard-bound Washington-Lee High School senior. The show wraps up its run this weekend at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre at 125 S. Old Glebe Road. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Decal Competition Underway — The annual competition for high school students to design the county’s new vehicle decal has begun. Entries for the 2015-2016 decal are accepted until December 1. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
DIY Network Casting Call — DIY Network is accepting applications from residents of the D.C. metro region for its show “I Want That.” It is not a renovation program, but rather focuses on the best and newest home and garden products. Homeowners within a 30 minute drive from downtown D.C. will be considered. [DIY Network]
Business Conference for Latina Entrepreneurs — The Shirlington Employment and Education Center will host a Latino Women’s Business Development Conference next Saturday, November 8. The goal is to find Latino women interested in starting their own businesses and connecting them with resources to succeed. The program primarily will be in Spanish. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones
Rosslyn Apartment Building to Sell for $220 Million — The JBG Cos. has reached a deal to sell its new Sedona Slate apartments in Rosslyn for $220 million. The company spent about $150 million to develop the two-building apartment project, which had a ribbon cutting ceremony in June. [Washington Business Journal]
APS Competition to Reduce Dropout Rate — Arlington Public Schools (APS) announced a competition for data analysts to help the school system prevent students from dropping out. Analysts will help APS identify trends and hopefully will find ways to flag students who could use more one-on-one time with counselors. Assistant Superintendent for Information Services Raj Adusumilli told ARLnow.com the winning team of analysts likely will be announced by the end of this winter. Although no firm date is in place for finishing the data analysis, the school system anticipates being able to use the gathered information by about February 2014 in order to help students make class choices for next year. [Washington Post, Arlington Public Schools]
Opera Singer Wins Talent Competition — Opera singer Garrick Jordan won first place in the second annual “Arlington’s Got Talent” competition. Jordan beat out six other competitors on Sunday (November 18) at Clarendon Ballroom. [Sun Gazette]
When Chie Tamaki walked into one of Virginia’s Toastmasters speech clubs four years ago, a member asked her if she was interested in speaking.
She wasn’t. At least not yet.
After moving from Japan to Arlington 13 years ago, Tamaki was shy and lacked English speaking skills. She was so timid that even after one year with Toastmasters, she remained quiet, unable to overcome the language barrier. Now, four years after joining, the Arlington resident is winning public speaking competitions.
Last month, Tamaki defeated 200 local participants to win the district level of the largest speaking competition in the world: the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. On Aug. 21, Tamaki will travel to Cincinnati for the semifinals, representing District 27 — D.C., Southwest Maryland and Northern Virginia. If she qualifies, Tamaki will be one of nine people participating in the finals two days later.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through various events and conferences. During the competition, participants’ 5-7-minute speeches are judged on content, organization, gesture and style.
Tamaki, who works as a translator and as a bilingual paralegal, said she joined the Toastmaster organization to learn English. But she quickly learned that the only way to come out of her shell and improve these skills was to participate in other speech contests. She had been to conferences before and wanted to be like the people she saw on stage, but her poor language skills hindered her.
“But I did step by step and I did my best,” she said. “Sometimes, I have to work harder.”
When she won the district-level competition, she only thought one thing: It’s a miracle.
Beauty Pageant in Crystal City — The annual Miss United States beauty pageant is taking place at Synetic Theater in Crystal City today and tomorrow (Saturday). Single women between the ages of 20 and 29 come from 55 states and U.S. territories to compete in the pageant. [Miss United States]
Marymount Launching Baseball Program — Arlington’s Marymount University is launching a baseball program, with a team composed largely of freshmen from Northern Virginia high schools. The team will play at Bishop O’Connell High School’s baseball field. [Washington Post]
County Still Reviewing Streetcar Finance Options — Arlington County officials are still trying to decide on their preferred funding mechanism for the Columbia Pike streetcar project. The streetcar could be built and in operation as early as 2017. [Sun Gazette]
Yelp Details ‘Yuppie’ Concentration in Clarendon — The business review site Yelp has published a map that shows the concentration of certain words in reviews. In the D.C. area, the word “yuppie” has the highest concentration in Clarendon. It also shows up to a lesser degree in Ballston, Courthouse and the Columbia Pike town center area. [Yelp]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The show will features eight bands from high schools around the D.C. region, including two from Arlington: New Metro (Yorktown H.S.) and Challenger Deep (Washington-Lee H.S.). Each of the bands in the show writes and performs their own music.
The audience will decide who wins the Battle of the Bands showcase. The winner will receive 32 hours of professional recording time at 4Mile Studios in Arlington.
The show will be held at Artisphere’s Dome Theatre at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. Tickets are $5 and are available online.
The Battle of the Bands is being produced by four teen interns at Artisphere, including Yorktown students Burke Justice and Charlotte Raskovich.
“Artisphere’s Teens Work Experience is a month-long interactive internship for DMV area high school seniors,” Artisphere said in a press release. “The four participants in the program, mentored by Sasha Lord of Sasha Lord Presents, have learned through professional experiences and workshops various aspects of running a performing arts center with the main project being the curation and presentation of a Battle of the Bands.”
ACFD Vehicle Involved in Rollover Accident –An Arlington County Fire Department SUV was involved in a single-vehicle rollover accident on the Dulles Toll Road on Monday afternoon, the McLean Patch reported. No one was injured in the accident, fire department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl confirmed to ARLnow.com. No other details about the crash were immediately available.
Arlington’s Mongolian Community — Arlington is home to one of the country’s largest Mongolian communities. In fact, Mongolian is the fourth most common language in Arlington Public Schools. [Washington Post]
Miss Gay Arlington Crowned — “Stardust” won the title of Miss Gay Arlington 2012 over the weekend. The annual eventat Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City included a talent contest, an evening gown competition and a questions and answer session. [Sun Gazette]
During the fundraiser, “culture critics” and other local notables will compete in a live art competition. They’ll make their pieces out of a variety of children’s toys and supplies, such as finger paints, Legos and pipe cleaners.
The list of competitors includes WJLA anchor Maureen Bunyan, D.C. City Paper Arts Editor Jonathan Fischer, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and Hanky Spanky from the D.C. Rollergirls.
The fundraiser’s attendees serve as judges for the event, and will vote for the winner. In addition to taking in contemporary art and listening to music, guests can participate in a silent auction while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.
The event will run from 8:00-11:00 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online.
The Virginia leg of the Southern Regional Pole Dance Fitness Competitions will take place at the hotel from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. More than 20 women will compete for the title of Ms. Virginia.
Emphasizing fitness and form over eroticism, the competition is drawing both professional competitors and amateur competitors from pole dance fitness studios across Virginia. The finalists were chosen via YouTube video submissions.
Three women will judge the competition: pole dance instructor Jane Allen, former exotic dancer Trixie Lovett, and Torwa “Fiya Starta” Jo.
The general public is welcome to view the competition, but tickets start at $25.
Screen grab of Ms. Virginia competitor via YouTube
More than 50 men and women will put their strength to the test by carrying, lifting, pressing and pulling large amounts of weight. Some of the “weights” are simply heavy objects, like huge rocks or tires.
Spectators are welcome at the event, which takes place at CrossFit South Arlington (607 S. Ball St). Competitions run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and more information about each strength test is available online. The entrance fee is $5, and children under 12 are free.
Expect to see a lot more bicycles in Crystal City this weekend. Saturday is the inaugural Crystal City Diamond Derby.
Unlike most other bike races, this one takes place indoors at the parking garage at 1850 Crystal Drive. Both amateur and competitive cyclists will take part in events and attempt to win awards and prize money.
Spectators can enjoy a free party throughout the day at the lounge, which includes a large screen to watch the action, live music and a cash bar. An outdoor midway will be set up with vendors, food and a bicyclist sprint lane.
Activities start at 2:00 p.m., but the major competitions take place from 4:30-9:30 p.m. They’re immediately followed by an awards ceremony, then the Diamond Derby Ball which runs from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.
Although the event is free and open to the public, registration and fees are required for competitors.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser