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Food Fight! Village Shalom’s Executive Chef to Compete in National Competition


Chef John Schmidt will be cooking up a storm as a semifinalist in the national Food Fight Competition on May 23, in Buffalo N.Y.

Schmidt, an executive chef for Morrison Community Living, runs the kitchen at Village Shalom, crafting meals for residents living at the Overland Park Continuing Care Retirement Community.

Chef John Schmidt will compete in the Food Fight semifinals on May 23, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Schmidt impressed the judges for the annual competition with a recipe for a Latin-themed pizza, making him one of eight Food Fight semifinalists chosen from a pool of 65 chefs nationwide.

Each entry into the competition —held by a group of product vendors in the food service industry— submitted an original recipe consisting of at least three products on a list given to the contestants.

“I was surprised that I was selected,” said Schmidt. “I was like ‘no, there’s got to be another John Schmidt’ but I’m going to go and have fun.”

Outside of Village Shalom, Schmidt has a food truck centered on Asian and Midwestern comfort food fusion — combining elements of different culinary traditions.  Schmidt used fusion to create his recipe, a flatbread pizza with ingredients like barbacoa, fire-roasted tenderloin, queso fresco, avocado and lime.  

Schmidt will take with him 15 years of experience working in the kitchen to the semifinals, which are broken down between regions in eastern and western United States.  

Both the semifinals and finals will be livestreamed at Schmidt will compete in the semifinals with chefs from the western regions at 12 p.m. CDT.  

Four chefs will advance from the semifinals, where they will each produce the recipe they created, to the finals on May 24.

Although he’s confident in his pizza recipe, Schmidt is still planning to run through it a few times, as well as make it for Village Shalom residents to try out at one of the retirement community’s quarterly events.

“It will be something different, I’m going to go down there and make the best pizza I can,” said Schmidt. “The chips will fall where they may.”