My First Latke Showdown

I’ve always been a simple ingredient kind of latke gal—potatoes, onions, eggs, matzah meal, and a little salt. My latke toppings are humble and traditional—sour cream, applesauce, and occasionally some lox if I feel like stepping it up a notch. But no more! After attending my first latke showdown, I’m inspired to mix up my latke game this year.

latke_showdown-017latke_showdown-013 Five Bay Area chefs put their spin on the traditional latke at The Illuminoshi’s first ever Hanukkah latke smackdown at San Francisco’s Ferry Building a few weeks ago. The Illuminoshi is a group of Bay Area food writers, food bloggers, food entrepreneurs, chefs, PR mavens, restaurateurs, winemakers, beer makers, and others in the food industry who identify as Jewish. Chef and food writer Alix Wall organized the event along with Elianna Friedman, founder of Bay Leaf Kitchen and Lisa Rogovin, owner of Edible Excursions.

Who won the smackdown and took home the top spatula prize? Our esteemed judges Joyce Goldstein, author most recently of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table, and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto, chose Craig Stoll’s Everything Latke fried in Duck Fat as their favorite. The popular vote (chosen by the attendees) went to Michael Siegel for his Sweet Potato Latke with Duck Rillette. But we all went home feeling like winners that evening.

Thanks to the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s Grassroots Initiative program for sponsoring this terrific event and thanks to Lydia Daniller for taking all these wonderful photos. Check out The San Francisco Chronicle for the winning recipes!

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Alix Wall and Lisa Rogovin

latke_showdown, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Joyce Goldstein

Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Joyce Goldstein tasting latkes at the judges table

latke_showdown, Banh Mi Latke with Sausage with Pickled Apples, Carrots and Sriracha Crème Fraiche  Elianna Friedman, Bay Leaf Kitchen Sous chef: Ezra Malmuth, Bay Laurel Group

Toppings for the Banh Mi Latke with Pickled Apples, Carrots and Sriracha Crème Fraiche by Elianna Friedman, Bay Leaf Kitchen with sous chef Ezra Malmuth, Bay Laurel Group

latke_showdown, Banh Mi Latke with Sausage with Pickled Apples, Carrots and Sriracha Crème Fraiche  Elianna Friedman, Bay Leaf Kitchen Sous chef: Ezra Malmuth, Atlas Edibles

The beautifully assembled Banh Mi Latke

latke_showdown, Falafel Latke with Tahini Sauce  Guy Eshel, chef/owner Sababa Hot Pita Bar Sous chef: Daniella Ben-Simon, Dani Ben Simon Catering

Guy Eshel, chef/owner Sababa Hot Pita Bar frying his Falafel Latkes with Tahini Sauce with sous chef Daniella Ben-Simon, Dani Ben Simon Catering

latke_showdown, Falafel Latke with Tahini Sauce  Guy Eshel, chef/owner Sababa Hot Pita Bar Sous chef: Daniella Ben-Simon, Dani Ben Simon Catering

Sides for the Falafel Latke

latke_showdown, Falafel Latke with Tahini Sauce  Guy Eshel, chef/owner Sababa Hot Pita Bar Sous chef: Daniella Ben-Simon, Dani Ben Simon Catering

Drizzling the sauce on the Falafel Latke

latke_showdown, Everything Latke fried in Duck Fat with Apple-Quince Conserva  Craig Stoll, chef/owner Delfina Restaurant Group Sous chef: Arielle Chernin, Delfina Restaurant Group Sous chef: Julia Braun, Dopo

Craig Stoll, chef/owner Delfina Restaurant Group making his Everything Latke fried in Duck Fat with Apple-Quince Conserva with sous chef Arielle Chernin, Delfina Restaurant Group

latke_showdown, Everything Latke fried in Duck Fat with Apple-Quince Conserva  Craig Stoll, chef/owner Delfina Restaurant Group Sous chef: Arielle Chernin, Delfina Restaurant Group Sous chef: Julia Braun, Dopo

The duck fat is the secret to these delicious latkes

latke_showdown, Everything Latke fried in Duck Fat with Apple-Quince Conserva  Craig Stoll, chef/owner Delfina Restaurant Group Sous chef: Arielle Chernin, Delfina Restaurant Group Sous chef: Julia Braun, Dopo

Toppings for the Everything Latke

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Pastrama-latke: Pastrami, Swiss, and Yukon Gold Latke Apple and Cabbage Slaw, Horseradish Cream by Scott Youkilis, chef/owner Hog & Rocks with sous chef Ani Alteparkmakian, Hog & Rocks and sous chef Sandy Sonnenfelt, Market Hall

latke_showdown, Sweet Potato Latke with Duck Rillette, Fig-Ruby Port Sauce and Duck Gribenes  Michael Siegel, chef/owner Shorty Goldstein’s Sous chef: Miriam Feiner, Twitter

Michael Siegel, chef/owner of Shorty Goldstein’s preparing his Sweet Potato Latke with Duck Rillette, Fig-Ruby Port Sauce and Duck Gribenes along with sous chef Miriam Feiner, Twitter

latke_showdown, Sweet Potato Latke with Duck Rillette, Fig-Ruby Port Sauce and Duck Gribenes  Michael Siegel, chef/owner Shorty Goldstein’s Sous chef: Miriam Feiner, Twitter

The assembled Sweet Potato Latke

latke_showdown, Ricotta Sfinge: (Moroccan Ricotta-filled Donuts)  Mica Talmor, chef/owner Ba-Bite and sous chef Mashav Shelef, La Couloir

Mica Talmor, chef/owner Ba-Bite making her delicious Ricotta Sfinge: (Moroccan Ricotta-filled Donuts) with sous chef Mashav Shelef, La Couloir

latke_showdown, Ricotta Sfinge

Ricotta Sfinge

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latke_showdown-110 The winners!

latke_showdown Elianna Friedman, Michael Siegel and Alix Wall toasting the end of a fun and fabulous evening..

Elianna Friedman, Michael Siegel and Alix Wall toasting to the end of a fun and fabulous evening

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4 Comments on My First Latke Showdown

  1. Tammy
    December 20, 2016 at 3:48 am (8 months ago)

    What a fun event!! Time to move to San Fran…Happy Hanukah!

    Reply
  2. Patsy
    December 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm (8 months ago)

    Love this post and the duck fat idea!

    Reply
  3. Helene
    December 20, 2016 at 9:58 pm (8 months ago)

    I was drooling reading the descriptions and viewing the photos of these very different latkes. And I do love to try all the various recipes. But I have to say that I find it more satisfying to have the simple traditional ones for hanukah. Thanks for encouraging diversity in tastes. And the event sounds wonderful.

    Reply
  4. Irene Levine
    December 27, 2016 at 10:34 pm (8 months ago)

    What a FUN EVENT — Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a wonderful, fun and delicious Hanukkah.
    Lots of love. Irene and Howard

    Reply

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