Battledish Pits Chefs for Foodie Love

By Andy Meek

With so many events and gatherings for Memphis-area foodies being added at a steady clip, it might seem only natural that something for chefs gets added to the mix as well.


With that in mind, the international chef competition Battledish is coming to Downtown Memphis next month. For that event, six chefs in Memphis will compete for titles such as “most delicious” and “most creative” as well as for best modern, best cocktail and “most authentic.”

The event is set for Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. All ticket holders will get to vote for their favorite chefs, as will a panel of guest judges.

More information will be trickling out in coming weeks. But participating chefs who already have been announced include Daniel Cathren of Automatic Slim’s and Sam Miller of Tamp & Tap.

Proceeds from Battledish are going to the Roots Memphis urban learning farm.

“This is part of a chef competition that will be happening across North America,” said Memphis Dishcrawl ambassador Kim Fuqua.

Battledish is a Dishcrawl event, falling under the same banner as the various “food crawls” that have been springing up in Memphis of late.

“(Battledish) will happen in 11 cities simultaneously,” Fuqua said. “There’ll be six chefs representing those 11 cities, so 66 chefs total. Everybody will be out judging between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. that Saturday, and there’ll be winners for each category in each city. Then those winners will be judged, and there will be an overall winner – the king of Battledish.”

Battledish is a walking culinary experience, with participants buying tickets and trekking to different eateries, where they’ll encounter chefs waiting for them with dishes to try. At check-in, Battledish participants will get a map and menu.

After that, it’s up to the participants to decide who to vote for. The event will have tiered pricing packages. For example, one package includes the price of admission and the option to try six dishes or drinks.

Fuqua said Dishcrawl representatives try to introduce customized events for each city, and in Memphis the next ones will be a vegan crawl and a taco crawl this month. There will be a soul food crawl in October, and Fuqua said she’s thinking about some kind of wine-focused dish crawl in November.

“One I’m especially excited about is the soul food crawl in October,” Fuqua said. “That one I’m going to be doing a little differently. For that one, I’ll charter a coach rather than have everyone walk. We’re going to be riding to a few of the really down-home, authentic soul food places in Memphis, because you really can’t just grab some within walking distance if you’re going for authentic.”

She also wants to have a casual happy hour on a monthly basis to get local foodies together to find out more about what kind of events they want to see in Memphis.

“Down the road, I’m going to keep trying different things,” Fuqua said. “Just whatever I see that’s not being represented in Memphis, I’ll give it a try and see if there’s an audience for it in the food and drink world.”