Wallace Cochran of the Merc will seek to defend his Chefs Challenge champion title Friday evening at the Douglas County Fair. This year’s cook-off will feature Cochran with Michael Beard of 715, 715 Massachusetts St., and T.K. Peterson of Merchants Pub and Plate, scheduled to open in August at 746 Massachusetts St.
Each chef will have 30 minutes to prepare a seasonal dish featuring locally sourced ingredients straight from county farms and 4-H'ers. They’ll start cooking at 6 p.m. in the shelter area of the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St. Judging — which includes an audience participation score — will wrap up by 7:30 p.m.
The Douglas County Food Policy Council sponsors the Chefs Challenge, and representatives will be on hand from farmers markets, grocery stores and educational groups to promote buying and eating local from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“Kansas, and Douglas County in particular, has a rich agricultural history,” County Commissioner Nancy Thellman said in an event announcement. “The county fair provides a great opportunity to celebrate all types of agriculture — from livestock, to crops, to fruits and vegetable production. We hope the Chefs Challenge will highlight our talented local farmers, chefs and 4-H participants, and help connect people to the source of their food.”