Annual cooking competition benefits The Vine School

Ismael Perez By Ismael Perez

April 19, 2017 at 4 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2017 at 4:10 p.m.

The brisket sandwich is the most popular item on the menu, said Kevin Broll, of Victoria, owner and chef of KB's BBQ.

The brisket sandwich is the most popular item on the menu, said Kevin Broll, of Victoria, owner and chef of KB's BBQ.   Nicolas Galindo for The Victoria Advocate

After the fire starts, there is no turning back.

Lining up ingredients and cooking equipment, the cooks in the Top Chef competition have until 5:30 p.m. to create the dish.

"When I go into the competition, I cook to win," said two-time, back-to-back savory chef champion Kevin Broll.

The ninth annual Top Chef competition and fundraiser for The Vine School will feature 11 chefs from the Crossroads who will compete for the title of top chef Friday at the Spring Creek Place Event Center.

Those in attendance will taste and vote for the best chefs cooking in the sweet and savory categories.

"The chefs have really gone out of their way; the portions are huge," said Erin Hatley, executive director of The Vine School.

Broll, 50, who owns and represents KB's BBQ, has to close one of his three locations in order to prepare the 75 to 80 pounds of meat for more than 300 people expected to attend.

He said the day of the Top Chef competition requires four people, including himself, to help prepare the food 12 hours before it is presented at the event.

Determined to win, Broll manages the food from start to finish.

"I have people chopping and cleaning behind me, but all the seasoning and everything goes through me first." the returning champion said.

His son, Cullen Broll, 25, said the volunteer group from KB's BBQ start off early in the morning, and they normally do not take the day off from work. They "work, take off and work some more."

"We prep and get everything done," Broll said. "And when it is time to serve, everything has to be set to perfection."

Kevin Broll said about 95 percent of the food is already prepared by the time they arrive to the event.

From there, the chefs set up a serving line and the tasting begins. Broll said he realizes the people enjoy his BBQ when he sees them at his station more than once.

"A lot of folks will come back and get more of their favorite food," Broll laughed.

The feeling of competition is not the only reason Broll decided to be part of the Top Chef fundraiser.

"I love The Vine School and what they stand for," he said. "What they do with the kids is amazing."

The Vine School is a private school for students age 2 to 18 who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and related communication disorders.

A majority of the proceeds from the competition will go toward the 65 percent of students who are on tuition assistance.

Hatley said the Top Chef fundraising idea has become very popular with people and keeps on growing each year.

The first Top Chef fundraiser had 100 people in attendance and raised about $30,000, while last year's fundraiser had more than 360 attendees and raised up to $90,000.

In addition to the food, the event will offer a silent auction where items like jewelry, fishing rods, clothing, artwork and even firearms will be available for bidding.

Broll said the Top Chef fundraiser is great because it offers the best quality of food found in Victoria, and supports a great cause.

"I never heard a bad thing about it, everybody I speak to absolutely loves it," Broll said. "I can tell you this is one of my favorite events that we do each year."


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