$20K Scholarship Winner At Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge

$20,000 first place was up for grabs at the second annual Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge during the Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit Night Market: East Meets West Thursday, May 8, 2014. Celebrity chef Mario Batali and TLC’s Cake Boss Buddy Valastro partnered with two students from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas, Brooke Worley and Kelly Ricker, for the ultimate live grilling competition.

Vegas Uncork'd At The Venetian
Buddy Valastro and Mario Batali
Chef Buddy Valastro And Chef Mario Batali
At Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge At 2014 Vegas Uncork’d

“We’re proud to host this competition and create unique opportunities for our cardmembers to experience a premiere culinary festival, while also providing scholarship funds to support these students’ culinary educations.”

The competition heated up as teams prepared an Asian-inspired version of Porc Charcutiere, and Emcee Andrew Knowlton, Restaurant and Drinks Editor at Bon Appétit, surprised the crowd with a “culinary curveball” requiring contestants to incorporate Shaoxing wine, a traditional ingredient in Chinese cuisine, into their menu.

Buddy Valastro and Andrew Knowlton
Buddy Valastro and Andrew Knowlton

“I’m excited to participate in the Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge,” said Chef Batali. “These students are the next generation of culinary talent in Las Vegas, I’m delighted to participate in an event which supports their culinary education.”

Brooke Worley and Mario Batali
Brooke Worley And Chef Mario Batali at Vegas Uncork’d Night Market

Chef Batali and Brooke Worley impressed the judges with their barbequed pulled pork on a bed of crispy udon noodles. Meanwhile Chef Valastro and Kelly Ricker served up a mouthwatering pork chop topped with a pickled bean sprout salad.

Mario Batali Cooking at Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge
Mario Batali

“I am honored to be a part of such an incredible event alongside my fellow Venetian Palazzo chefs,” said Valastro. “The Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge is a fun, intense, and very unique way for me to support the next generation of culinary super stars right here in Las Vegas from Le Cordon Bleu.”

Brooke Worley At Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge
Brooke Worley Competes In Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge

The live competition came down to the wire, judges Adam Rapoport, Editor-in-Chief at Bon Appétit, Alison Roman, Senior Associate Food Editor at Bon Appétit, and Todd Huelsman, 2013 Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge champion, cast votes and named Worley and Batali the winning team.

The winning student, Brooke, received a $20,000 scholarship, and the runner-up, Kelly, was awarded $5,000 to fund their culinary educations, courtesy of Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Brooke Worley And Mario Batali
Brooke Worley Winner Of Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge
At Vegas Uncork’d Night Market at The Venetian Las Vegas

“It’s great to see all-star chefs Mario Batali and Buddy Valastro come together to support the culinary community in Las Vegas,” said Lisa Walker, general manager, Chase Sapphire. “We’re proud to host this competition and create unique opportunities for our cardmembers to experience a premiere culinary festival, while also providing scholarship funds to support these students’ culinary educations.” Photo credit: Evan Agostini/Invision for Chase Sapphire Preferred/AP Images

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Bill Cody is an entertainment, technology and luxury travel reporter in Las Vegas. He reports on celebrities, events, tech, food, Las Vegas and luxury travel.

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