Area chefs preparing to square off.

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Byline: Barbara M. Houle

COLUMN: TABLE HOPPIN'

Local chefs compete Jan. 31 in Union Station in Worcester for the highly coveted title of Worcester's Best Chef.

The event, from 4 to 8 p.m., will have Billy Costa of KISS 108 Boston and NECN's TV Diner as master of ceremonies. The judging panel will include executive chef Michael Giletto, who has appeared on TV food shows, such as "Chopped," "Iron Chef America" and "Ultimate Recipe Showdown."

Tickets: $50 per person; $35, student with ID; $80, couple; $400, corporate table. Online ticket sales are recommended; tickets will be sold at the door, if available. There will be valet parking.

Visit www.worcestersbestchef.com for more information.

Proceeds will benefit the college scholarship program for culinary students at Worcester Technical High School in Worcester.

Participating restaurants and chefs will serve tastings of the dish they presented in competition.

The event also will feature wines, champagne, beers and special liquor tastings, plus live dance exhibitions, auctions and more.

Sir Jeremy Bell will demonstrate how to saber a bottle of champagne.

More than 25 chefs will compete for the title of Worcester's Best Chef in three categories: Asian, Fine Dining and Dessert.

The winners in each category will cook their way through another round of competition for the title, Worcester's Best Chef - Top Toque. The chefs will create a dish using identical ingredients contained in a mystery box.

Judging criteria for Worcester's Best Chef competition will be based on official rules and guidelines used by the American Culinary Federation.

I will be one of the judges of the competition, with executive chef Paul Wilson of Pepper's Fine Foods Catering in Northboro, and president of the Massachusetts Culinary Association; executive chef/owner Stanley J. Nicas of the Castle Restaurant in Leicester; executive pastry chef/owner Alina Eisenhauer of Sweet in Worcester; Christina Andrianopoulos, president of the Omega Marketing Group and talk show host of "Dining Out MetroWest"; Chris Liazos, former owner (40 years) of the Webster House Restaurant in Worcester; executive chef Michael Giletto of Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman, N.J.; Bernie Whitmore of Pulse magazine in Worcester, and SFC Damion Orr of the U.S. Army Culinary Division.

Guests will cast votes for the winner in the People's Choice Award.

At a recent judges' briefing in the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, celebrity judge Michael Giletto said...

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