Ben Ruiz Credit: Chris Hurd

For each installment of the Reader’s regular Key Ingredient column, a local chef chooses an ingredient and challenges a fellow chef to create a dish with it. (The ingredient doesn’t have to be difficult to procure or unusual or gross, but that’s the direction most chefs go, testing their colleagues with everything from marshmallow creme to ant eggs.) Our annual Key Ingredient Cook-Off usually follows a similar format, except that we’re the ones who decide what ingredients the chefs have to cook with—until this year’s event, which was held May 18 at the Ivy Room at Tree Studios. Instead, we asked each chef to prepare something inspired by his or her culinary mentor and to tell us a little bit about that person. Most chose a chef they worked under when starting their careers, but not everyone: Blackbird’s Ryan Pfeiffer credits his first instructor at culinary school, while Kimski’s Won Kim said his cooking is most influenced by his mother.   v

Credit: Chris Hurd


Diana Dávila

Mi Tocaya Antojeria

Mentor: Giuseppe Tentori

Credit: Chris Hurd


Dino Tsaknis

Primehouse

Mentor:
Michael Lachowicz

Credit: Chris Hurd


Benjamin Lustbader

Giant

Mentor:
Michel Richard

Credit: Chris Buddy


Dan Salls

Quiote

Mentor:
Rick Bayless

Credit: Chris Hurd


Ryan Pfeiffer

Blackbird

Mentor:
Tim Bucci

Credit: Chris Hurd


Ben Ruiz

Won Fun Chinese

Mentor:
Erick Williams

Credit: Chris Hurd


Won Kim

Kimski

Mentor:
Sun Hee Kang

Credit: Chris Hurd


Sarah Rinkavage

Marisol

Mentor:
Jason Hammel

Credit: Chris Hurd


Evan Sumrell

The Ogden

Mentor:
Ryan McCaskey

Credit: Chris Hurd


Sarah Mispagel

Proxi

Mentor:
Tony Galzin

Credit: Chris Hurd


Rodolfo Cuadros

Carnivale

Mentor:
Douglas Rodriguez

Credit: Chris Hurd


Carlos Gaytan

Mexique

Mentor:
Mexico