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Crowd Gathers for Round 1 of 86'D Chef Battle in West Hartford

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Chefs Van Hurd and Eric Stagl competed in Round 1 of ’86’D: A Culinary Collision’ at Savoy in West Hartford.

(From left): Scott Miller, Eric Stagl, Dante Paul Cistulli, Van Hurd. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

(From left): Scott Miller, Eric Stagl, Dante Paul Cistulli, Van Hurd. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

The atmosphere was intense, the music was pounding, the sell-out crowd was cheering as local chefs Van Hurd – a former “Hell’s Kitchen” competitor who is now executive chef at Taino Smokehouse in Middletown and Eric Stagl – chef/owner of Hartford-based food truck Yardbird & Co. – battled it out in the kitchen of Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar on LaSalle Road in West Hartford.

86’D: A Culinary Collision turned what would otherwise be an average Monday night in West Hartford Center into an epicurean festival.

The chefs were challenged with creating at least two courses using three “secret” ingredients and one ingredient they had brought themselves, as well as what they could find in the pantry at Savoy.

The three mystery ingredients – two of which were rather unique – were revealed by emcee Scott Miller of DORO Restaurant Group just as the competition was set to begin. The chefs needed to incorporate Floridian parrotfish and Moulard duck breast, as well as soy balsamic, into their dishes. Hurd brought a Maine lobster while Stagle brought a black chicken.

The chefs had 45 minutes to prepare, cook, and plate their dishes, and clean up their stations.

Originality, flavor, presentation, and cleanliness were all factors considered by the three guest judges for the first round: iHeartRadio’s Renée DiNino, and “CT Ain’t So Bad” bloggers Jenna Kijowski and Jessica Bishop.

As plates flew from the kitchen faster than most could even photograph them, the judges were the only ones who got to taste the dishes – although Savoy owner and event host Dante Paul Cistulli, and future chef competitor Prasad Chirnomoula, also snuck in a few nibbles.

The guests dined on Savoy pizzas, and drank signature cocktails as well as beer – in between cheering and videoing the activity.

In a very close finish, decided by just one point Stagl took home the trophy.

“It was so amazing to have the community come together to support  last nights first 86D event! We hope to continue the excitement and momentum for our upcoming battles,” said Jeannette Dardenne of West Hartford-based food and beverage marketing/public relations firm Eat In Connecticut. 

The battle was the brainchild of Miller and the Eat IN Connecticut team.

The next 86’D: A Culinary Collision event will be held on March 6. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, and advance purchase is definitely recommended since this event was a sell-out. The location – which will be within 5 miles of Hartford – will be announced within 24 hours of the event on 86’D’s Facebook page and by Eat IN Connecticut.

Click here for more information about 86’D: A Culinary Collision, including a list of participating chefs.

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Judges (from left): Renee DiNino, Jenna Kijowski, and Jessica Bishop. Peeking out from the back is Jeannette Dardenne of Eat IN Connecticut. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Judges (from left): Renee DiNino, Jenna Kijowski, and Jessica Bishop. Peeking out from the back is Jeannette Dardenne of Eat IN Connecticut. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Contenders Eric Stagl (left) and Van Hurd before the competition. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Contenders Eric Stagl (left) and Van Hurd before the competition. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Dante Paul Cistulli of Savoy, the host of Round 1. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Dante Paul Cistulli of Savoy, the host of Round 1. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Emcee Scott Miller (left) of DORO Restaurant Group with judge Renee DiNino. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Emcee Scott Miller (left) of DORO Restaurant Group with judge Renee DiNino. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Secret ingredients revealed! 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Secret ingredients revealed! 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Van Hurd brought a Maine lobster. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Van Hurd brought a Maine lobster. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jenna Kijowski. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Jenna Kijowski. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chef Prasad Chirnomoula of INDIA. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chef Prasad Chirnomoula of INDIA. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

(From left): Scott Miller, Eric Stagl, Dante Paul Cistulli, Van Hurd. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

(From left): Scott Miller, Eric Stagl, Dante Paul Cistulli, Van Hurd. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Eric Stagl of Yardbird & Co. with the trophy. 86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Eric Stagl of Yardbird & Co. with the trophy. 86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86'D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

86’D: A Culinary Collision Round 1. Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford. Feb. 6, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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