The Official Chef Challenge is Coming to Providence
It’s a five-course meal at Yoleni's that caters to adventurous eaters by using a mystery box full of locally sourced ingredients.
The Official Chef Challenge is coming to Yoleni’s in Providence on Monday, July 30 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. It’s a five-course mystery meal that caters to adventurous eaters by bringing a mystery box full of ingredients that are primarily local, organic and ethically-sourced from small farmers to local chefs who are tasked to create a feast for guests that evening.
Official Chef Challenge co-founders Josh Rhoades and Ashley Murray started out bringing the events to Syracuse, New York, and now they’re expanding the series in Providence. They start by gathering ingredients from local farmers markets as well as items that are donated from area sponsors and farms. The executive chef and team at Greek restaurant Yoleni’s will have limited time to make a five-course, family-style “mystery” meal. Guests won’t know what’s coming until it’s in front of them.
“We have a few unique products that the chefs are going to need to taste and try and we’re definitely going to be pushing some boundaries with the ingredients,” Rhoades says. “We might present something that’s new to you, but in a way that’s familiar to you. We want to open people’s minds to new things.”
The chefs might get a head’s up on the main ingredients that will be included the box, such as pasture-raised meats and vegetables, but there will always be a few mystery elements they will have to include on the spot.
“Our mission is to challenge chefs and guests to push culinary boundaries using local ingredients,” says Rhoades. “The only way we can push boundaries and have the food be phenomenal is that we give chefs more time to celebrate what we bring. They get a four-day notice of what’s coming so they can plan a menu, but they will also get some day-of surprises.”
Tickets for the five-course meal are $55 per person, and $10 from every ticket sold will benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Beverages and gratuity are not included. The Chef Challenge begins with a free networking portion of the event from 4:30–5:30 p.m., followed by the ticketed dinner from 6–8:30 p.m. Dinner is limited to about fifty people and reservations are required in advance. The opening networking opportunity includes individuals that are interested in community development, sustainability within our food system, farming, entrepreneurship, buying locally or innovation in general. Expect farmers, foodies, founders and more!
Visitors may include staff from Narragansett Beer, POP uprise, GoProvidence, Rhode Island Monthly, Radical Roots Farm, LLC, SunFresh Proteins, Rhode Island Community Food Bank , Hope & Main, RI Mushroom Company, Farm Fresh RI, and more.
Here’s a video showcasing a previous Official Chef Challenge event, so you can get an idea of what to expect: