Best Chef ends in a tie

Two chefs took home the top prize in Quincy Community Action Programs annual “Best Chef” competition.

QUINCY − Collin Davis, the chef at he Townshend in Quincy Square, had a plan in mind for Thursday night’s Quincy Community Action Program’s “Best Chef” competition.

That plan went out the window when he received the basket of ingredients he had to work with: pollack fillets, elbow macaroni, eggplant, grapes and cranberry juice. All are items that are regularly available to patrons of the agency’s food pantry, and he had 30 minutes to think up, prepare and serve the meal.

“I had planned for chicken, because it had been chicken the past few years,” Davis said.

Seeing the fish, “threw me for a loop, but it was a fast loop. A bunch of what I did I had already planned,” he said.

He baked the fish, used the macaroni and eggplant in a pasta salad and tied for first in the competition.

Barbara Isola, one of the judges and a former “Best Chef” competitor, said it was the first time in the eight years of the competition that the result has been a tie. She praised the work of all five chefs.

“Each of them brought something to the table that was different,” Isola said. “It was delicious.”

Also in the first place tie was Tony DiRienzo of Novara and Abby Park in Milton. This is the third time in the four years he’s been a winner in the competition.

Asked if the competition was a challenge, DiRienzo said it is nothing like the Saturday night rush in a restaurant’s kitchen.

“This is more fun,” he said.

Taking home the people’s choice award was Chef Marc Orfaly of the ReelHouse at Marina Bay.

Other chefs participating in the competition, which was held at the Granite Links Golf Club, was Ming Cao of Fuji at WoC and Ashley Gaboriault of Idle Hour, both in Quincy Square.

Former WCVB-TV anchor Susan Wornick served as the event’s emcee.

The event, which also featured live and silent auctions, is Quincy Community Action Programs largest annual fundraiser. This year’s edition collected $235,000 for the agency.

Quincy Community Action Programs serves 21,000 people in 80 area communities each year, providing fuel assistance, Head Start programs, housing assistance, adult basic education and other programs.