Game On: 2012 Local Chef Challenge Next Weekend at Mall of America!

Another year, another eight chefs—and still, a $10,000 prize!

Our annual Local Chef Challenge is returning to the rotunda at Mall of America® next weekend, March 31st and April 1st. And it’s still free to attend.

Emcee Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaEats) will be introducing baskets of mystery ingredients each round, a la Chopped, and the chefs will have 50 minutes to work their magic (plus a few more to plate) in a Cambria kitchen, ultimately serving a dish to DeRusha and fellow TC Taste judges Stephanie Meyer (@FreshTartSteph, food blogger) and Jason Ross (@chefjasonross, chef instructor at LeCordon Bleu).

Last year’s champ Chef Vincent Francoual of Vincent A Restaurant will be back to defend his title, and face new competitors:

We met with each chef recently to see them in action and get their thoughts before the competion, so watch those videos here.

The first round on Saturday will be appetizer-focused; the second on Sunday will be an entree. Then Sunday, for all the marbles, is dessert!

The kitchen will be stocked by Lakewinds and Valley Natural Foods. Additional thanks to sponsors WCW and Southern Wine & Spirits.

The full bracket of head-to-head competitions can be found at Here’s a look at last year’s event, using octopus, ginger snaps, barramundi, and other ingredients:

We hope to see you there! Follow @MNMOmag and #chefchallenge for live updates throughout the event.