Black Bear Diner, Urban Plates, Lawry’s Take Top Honors at 6th Annual Culinary + Cocktail Clash


Restaurant brands faced-off in the sixth annual Culinary Clash, a fundraising event to benefit the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF). The battle was held on August 27 in conjunction with the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.


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Culinary teams, comprised of a restaurant executive, a corporate chef and a ProStart high school student, had 30 minutes and two butane burners to create an amuse bouche and an entrée.

New this year was the inaugural Cocktail Clash. Teams had 5 minutes to create a cocktail using Jose Cuervo and a Coca-Cola juice or mixer, a nod to the event’s sponsors. Points were awarded for innovation, complexity, garnish and overall taste. The first ever Jose Cuervo Golden Goblet was awarded to Lawry’s Prime Rib

The Golden Glove, the event’s highest culinary honor, was awarded to Urban Plates “Thanksgiving Sushi Roll” – layered ground turkey, sautéed beets, sweet potato, and homemade stuffing.


Bragging rights and the biggest trophy once again go to team Black Bear Diner, who clenched The Purse for the third year in a row. The Purse is awarded to the team that raises the most money for high school culinary arts programs in an online fundraiser.

Real Mex Restaurants and their brands El Torito, Chevy’s, Acapulco and Las Brisas dished out crowd-pleasing Mexican food delights including ceviche rojo, Hamachi sashimi, tacos al pastor, and of course, handmade guacamole. They also gave away 900 sombreros. 


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All categories and winners:

Culinary Clash:

  • Golden Glove: Urban Plates
  • Coca-Cola Champ: Lawry’s Prime Rib
  • Foster Farms Turkey Champ: Specialty Restaurants Corp.
  • Ecolab Champ: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Hard Rock Cafe
  • KitchenAid Commercial Champ: Hard Rock Cafe
  • Team Spirit: Hard Rock Cafe
  • People’s Choice: Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center
  • Best Bite: Urban Plates
  • Golden Plate: Lawry’s Prime Rib
  • FreshPoint Secret Ingredient Champ: Specialty Restaurants Corp.  

Cocktail Clash:

  • Jose Cuervo Golden Goblet: Lawry’s Prime Rib
  • Coca-Cola Champ: Coasterra
  • Best Garnish: Lazy Dog
  • The Craftiest: Lawry’s Prime Rib

“What an experience for our students! They cooked side by side with incredible chefs from world-famous restaurant brands,” commented Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of CRAF. “We are tremendously grateful for the support of the teams, sponsors and volunteers who made it all possible.”

Proceeds from the event support culinary arts education in California through fieldtrips, demos, classroom equipment, job-readiness training, and more. More than 9,000 students benefit from CRAF’s ProStart program in the state.

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