Battle of the Chefs Bands Rocks the Roof Off Belly Up Tavern to Benefit the Center for Community Solutions

Josh Koppelman  & Sam The Cooking Guy

February 3, 2014

On Monday, January 27, San Diego's culinary industry joined together at Belly Up Tavern to rally as fellow restaurant industry insiders rocked the roof off for a packed house.  Hosted by Sam 'The Cooking Guy' Zien and Josh Koppelman of DiningOutSD, Battle of the Chef Bands is an annual fundraiser where bands made up of restaurant employees and chefs compete battle of the bands style to benefit the domestic violence awareness efforts of the esteemed Center for Community Solutions.  

What started a few years ago as a benefit where San Diego chefs and their staff came together to play Rock Band and do karaoke has evolved into legitimate, tried and true bands that just so happen to be made up of local chefs and restaurant staff.  This year's 4th incarnation of the Battle of the Chef Bands was unlike any other, as the talent continues to flourish, and while there has always been at least one 'karaoke' type performance, this year it was all for real!

Chef Matt Gordon rocking out!
Chef Katherine Humphus of Cohn Restaurant Group's BO-Beau showed off her drum skills.  Chef Matt Gordon, chef and proprietor of Urban Solace, Solace & The Moonlight Lounge and Sea & Smoke was a beast on the guitar with his band August West.  But the surprise of the night was from the soft spoken gentleman, Chef Kevin Templeton of barleymash, whose band Godhammered closed out the night with some skull-melting, hardcore death metal.  From all the amazing talent that performed, judges chose Romesco's Mexiterranean's 12 piece band Bulevar Descarga as the winner (video below).

Restaurants didn't only compete on the instrumental level, but, for the price of admission, attendees also had the opportunity to sample delicious bites from area restaurants and food purveyors. Chef Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack offered up delicious pulled pork tortas. Sea & Smoke dished out biscuit beef cheek sliders. Hodad's grilled up their patented Guido Burger. But the night belonged to Romesco Mexiterranean who also took home gold for their delicious taco bar.

Chef Hanis Cavin promised to compete next year!
"Chefs do so much work for charities around San Diego that I wanted to have a fun event where they could just have fun....and rock out. Chefs are not only talented artists in the kitchen but many love to play music," graciously exclaims Kopelman, who has worked long and hard to perfect this benevolent event.

The battle of the bands between chefs and restaurant teams provides local chefs, who already do so much for local charities, to showcase another set of incredible skills while raising awareness of domestic violence and promoting this year's Chef Showdown - a long-running culinary competition and fundraiser that also benefits the Center for Community Solutions.

Founded in 1969,  Center for Community Solutions assists more than 30, 000 women, men and children affected by sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse each year. The Center operates the only Rape Crisis Center in the City of San Diego along with a 24-hour bilingual crisis helpline as well as hospital and court accompaniment services for rape survivors. CCS provides two 24-hour emergency shelter and transitional housing programs for victims of domestic violence and their children.

Be sure not to miss next year's Battle of the Chef Bands.  The music and food get better year after year!