Recently, I was invited to attend the weekly Thursday Throwdown at The Exchange in downtown Corpus Christi. For those who don’t know, the Thursday Throwdown is a fun, culinary treat that is the result of a collaboration between Dagon Produce, Chef Tony’s Custom Cuisine, and The Exchange.
Each week, two local chefs face off in front of a live audience, with highlights of the show being broadcasted over Facebook and Instagram Live. Both chefs are given one Dagon Produce basket to share and must come up with a tasty dish to win over the judges’ taste buds. Per the rule book, chefs must include at least five ingredients from the basket into their meal and they must make enough for the entire audience to sample. At the end of an hour of cooking, the audience gets to decide which meal was the better of the two and the winner gets to advance on the Thursday Throwdown tournament bracket.
During this showdown, chefs Lauren and Alex were tasked with cooking up a recipe that featured ingredients from Dagon Produce’s basket of the week. As the basket lineup changes with the seasons, contestants can never be sure just what they’ll have to work with. This week’s basket included jalapenos, picnic peppers, tatuma squash, basil, radishes, farm fresh eggs, and ground turkey amongst several other things. All ingredients were locally sourced from ranchers and farmers in the area. Given an hour to work, chef Lauren created an autumnal chili with the ground turkey, squash, and some coconut milk, while chef Alex whipped up a stuffed savory crepe with a spicy pepper sauce on the side. Both dishes were delicious and made picking a favorite tricky.
All in all, I found the Thursday Throwdown to be enjoyable, informative, and downright tasty. As you watch the two chefs go toe to toe over their shared basket of ingredients, one can’t help but wonder what interesting dishes will be created next. Quirky challenges - like working one-handed for seven minutes of being forced to help your opponent for three minutes - keep things lively and the audience engaged. And the fact that you get to sample both dishes afterward is a definite bonus.
My only complaint was that I couldn’t be closer to the action. For health and safety reasons, audience members are understandably required to keep at least 6 feet away from the cooking stations during the competition. If you’re like me and full of food-related questions, you’ll have to wait until after the cooking and serving is finished before seeking out your answers.
If this sounds like your idea of an evening well spent, then be sure to make your way to The Exchange next Thursday evening. The Thursday Throwdown takes place every week and starts at 7pm.
- Darrean Parker (October 2020)