August is National Sandwich Month, and to celebrate, The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo has selected sandwiches as the theme of their 2017 Rapid Fire Challenge, presented by Great Taste Magazine. Three chefs will face off on Monday, August 28th during the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, running from August 27 – 29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
After a round of peer voting hosted on the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo’s Facebook page, a total of 1,115 votes were cast and the three chefs to compete in the rapid fire challenge are:
“Congratulations to Chef’s Cao, Agosto and Schlutz on being chosen to participate in this high energy and exciting event at the Show. We know that the audience and judges are looking forward to tasting and judging these three sandwiches,” said Tom Loughran, Event Director.  “The Rapid Fire Challenge is one of the highlights of the Center Stage where the likes of Emeril Lagasse, the Too Hot Tamales, Thomas Keller, Guy Fieri and more have been featured.”
The battle for the best sandwich will be moderated by Great Taste Magazine and will take place on the Center Stage on Monday, August 28 at 3:30pm. The competitors will put their sandwich to the test by demonstrating their recipe and providing tastes for the audience and three esteemed judges.  The winner will be crowned the Western Foodservice Expo Rapid Fire Champion and receive $1,000. Judges include:

Katsuji Tanabe

Chef Katsuji Tanabe, the owner of MexiKosher restaurant located in Los Angeles. Although Tanabe is not Jewish, he said it was his calling and stays true to the culture in his restaurant, but cooks a variety of other dishes and styles outside of the restaurant. Chef Katusji Tanabe is a two-time competitor on Bravo TV’s Top Chef.  He is very active within the community, and works to promote well-being for adults and children alike.

Brian Huskey

Chef Brian Huskey spent 3 years with the Patina group at Cafe Pinot and helped open Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge in Costa Mesa as sous chef. Brian competed on BRAVO’s nationally acclaimed TV hit show Top Chef season 11: New Orleans. Two years ago he opened his first concept Tackle Box, a local grub shack in Orange County at Corona del Mar state beach which was acknowledged as one of OC’s “Best Restaurants of the Year” by Orange Coast Magazine.

Shirley Chung

Chef Shirley Chung opened her restaurant in Orange County, Twenty-Eight. Shirley
competed on season 14 of BravoTV’s Top Chef and was rewarded by being named the runner up. Shirley is currently working on opening her next concept, Steamers Co., a fast-casual counter service seafood driven restaurant with an oyster bar.
Added Loughran, “We would like to thank all of the chefs that submitted a sandwich this year and for helping to elevate the level of competition.”  Submissions were received from Chef Bert Agor of King’s Hawaiian, Chef Abraham Arreaga of Working Class Kitchen, Chef Peter Avedissian of I Bake Um, Chef Ben Diaz of Rosa Mexicano LA Live, Chef Richard Hirshen of Mooney Farms and Bella San Luci, Chef Steve Kling of Stillwater Spirits and Sounds, Chef Felix Nappoly of the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Chef Kevin Roberts (aka Food Dude) of Café Paleo Brio, and Chef Whitney Werner of Roast.
Click here to register for the 2017 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo. California Restaurant Association members receive one complimentary registration per $100 of CRA membership dues paid when they register with their membership ID Number.
The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo gathers thousands of restaurant and foodservice professionals to gain experience and knowledge on how to become more informed, more educated, more competitive, and more profitable in the industry. The tradeshow and conference, started in 1936 is produced by Urban Expositions and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association. The 2017 event will take place August 27-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information, visit Western Food Expo Official.