Sunday Night Chef Fights returned to the Coachella Valley on Sunday, April 10th for a highly-
out Chef Fight at the Standards of Excellence showroom in Rancho Mirage between the defending Champion Chef of the Coachella Valley Andrew Copley of Copley’s on Palm Canyon in Palm Springs and Challenger Chef Aaron Kiefer, chef/owner of East Meets West Catering (and Palm Springs Life magazine’s Top Caterer in 2010).
As defending champion, Chef Copley chose to cook first, and immediately launched into three stellar dishes featuring the base ingredients of eggs, corn, and polenta and the mystery ingredient of wasabi. His first dish was a pan-
seared scallop served over a creamy corn cake topped with a lobster knuckle and oven-
roasted tomato salad and a sweet pea and wasabi vinaigrette. Next, as a main, Copley presented a sweet soy scented Colorado lamb chop which he paired with a corn and polenta crepe stuffed with sweet corn, shiitake mushrooms, and goat cheese. This was served with an arugula salad and topped with a spicy Thai Red Dragon sauce. Last, for dessert, Copley concocted two pairings that he served together: on one side of the dish, a ricotta and polenta cheesecake topped with a lavender Creme Anglaise and served with a sweet corn and golden raisin ice cream; on the other, a scoop of tarragon ice cream served with an edible wasabi sugar spoon ad paired with a chocolate truffle.
After the audience enjoyed Chef Copley’s dishes and evaluated them on their scorecards, Chef Kiefer took his place in the cul-
arena for his Sunday Night Chef Fight. He presented an ambitious menu of six dishes that he was attempting with only one sous chef. HE began with a fresh, simple dish pairing wasabi-
crusted seared ahi and watermelon that he topped with a caper vinaigrette. Next was a seared pairing of a polenta-
crusted sea scallop and a large piece of foie gras, which was served with a corn and heirloom tomato salsa on top of a corn mash. Third was Kiefer’s take on a traditional Portuguese breakfast, combining a small cob of street corn with steamed manila clams, chicken-
apple sausage, shallots, bacon, aged parmesan cheese, and parmesan polenta. Unfortunately, Kiefer ran out of cooking and plating time with this third dish, but elected to take a penalty and keep cooking. His fourth dish was a bacon-
wrapped pork tenderloin served with roasted sweet corn grits, a wasabi honey mustard, and a black-
tan glace. Then he quickly served up with Japanese corn bread stuffed quail family style for each table to enjoy. Finally, he put together a dessert of a lemon polenta cake with a citrus caramel sauce and a vanilla Creme Anglaise. Ultimately, for going over time, Chef Kiefer was assessed a 9-
The audience rendered their verdicts and gave this Coachella Valley Sunday Night Chef Fight to Chef Andrew Copley in a category sweep.
Chef Copley retains his title as “Champion Chef of the Coachella Valley” and will cook at the Standards of Excellence showroom for the final time on Sunday, July 10th, defending his title against Chef Oscar Ayala of the Escena Grill at the Escena Golf Club in Palm Springs. If Chef Andrew is victorious, he will earn his way into the Sunday Night Chef Fights’ Hall of Fame as a three-
time winner, so you don’t want to miss this potentially historic occasion. Tickets will go on sale May 13th at sundaynightcheffights.com.