The action at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend took a detour Saturday night as Speedway Children's Charities presented the second edition of The Asphalt Chef. Held poolside at the Lone Star Tower Clubhouse outside corner number two of the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and Fort Worth resident and "Iron Chef" champion Tim Love battled for the title of Asphalt Chef the night before the Texas AAA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on November 6, 2010.
Each chef was partnered with a celebrity chef for the evening's activities. Batali teamed with four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Fieri was teamed with 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch and Love joined with Foreigner's lead singer Kelly Hansen.
ABC-TV/ESPN NASCAR pit reporter Dave Burns served as the emcee of the event. Celebrity judges for the evening were Texas Ranger's pitcher, Tommy Hunter, NASCAR team owner Michael Waltrip and local Dallas-Fort Worth radio and TV personality Newy Scruggs. Each dish was judged on four criteria: taste, originality, use of ingredients and presentation.
Tim Love and Kelly Hanson, team name The Winners, won the competition with a Gulf shrimp and grits dish. In claiming the title of Asphalt Chef, The Winners took the oversized, orange Mario Batali peppermill trophy and earned $5,000 for each of their favorite charities. The "rock star" duo received 58 out of a possible 60 points for the win.
The format of the competition was modeled after the popular "Iron Chef" television show-where the world's premier chefs battle each other and the clock to earn the ultimate bragging rights. A secret ingredient, Gulf shrimp, was unveiled immediately prior to the event. Each team had five minutes to conceptualize a recipe and 20 minutes to produce a dish with the Gulf shrimp.
Team Burning Ravioli of Batali and Johnson, along with Team Knuckle Sandwich of Fieri and Busch all helped raise $85,515 for Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter and the Mario Batali Foundation. Speedway Children's Charities provides funding for hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout the nation that meet the direct needs of children. Its vision is that every child has the same opportunities no matter what obstacle they are facing. The Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter has invested over $6.7 million in the local community since its inception in 1997.