SoDel Concepts chefs battle it out in chicken challenge

 SoDel Concepts chefs shown with their chicken challenge entries are (l-r) Jason Dietterick, Maggie Cellitto, Maurice Catlett and Efrain Martinez. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

SoDel Concepts chefs shown with their chicken challenge entries are (l-r) Jason Dietterick, Maggie Cellitto, Maurice Catlett and Efrain Martinez. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Four chefs with SoDel Concepts put their fried chicken dishes to the test in a friendly face-off May 17 at Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Rehoboth Beach. The contest – a finale to the hospitality group's fried chicken month – was sponsored by Allen Harim, a poultry grower and processor, which provided the chicken.

"We're always looking for fun ways to collaborate with other businesses," said Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts. "Working on the contest with Allen Harim demonstrates our commitment to local, fresh and sustainable foods."

 Maggie Cellitto of Matt’s Fish Camp in Bethany Beach placed fried chicken on a crispy chicken skin tostada.

Maggie Cellitto of Matt’s Fish Camp in Bethany Beach placed fried chicken on a crispy chicken skin tostada.

The challenge gave the chefs the opportunity to showcase their creativity, said Doug Ruley, corporate chef for SoDel Concepts. "They used some interesting ingredients with tons of flavor."

Maggie Cellitto of Matt's Fish Camp in Bethany Beach used crispy fried chicken skin as a tostada. She added chicken that she'd brined in buttermilk, rosemary, cumin and coriander before being battered and fried. The dish also included a spring salad with kale, strawberries, shaved jalapeno, red onion and a mint-ginger salsa verde. The finishing touch: goat cheese-cilantro, crème fraiche and a zesty "boom" sauce. She garnished the dish with shaved watermelon radish.

Maurice Catlett of Matt's Fish Camp in Lewes presented cast-iron fried chicken over sweet corn pudding with green beans and bacon gravy.

Efrain Martinez of Papa Grande's Coastal Taqueria in Fenwick Island placed fried chicken on an ancho-chili-bacon waffle accompanied by flash-fried Brussels sprouts tossed with bacon, spicy maple syrup and farmer cheese.

Jason Dietterick of Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Rehoboth Beach made Korean "street" fried chicken with gochujang barbecue sauce, fried tofu, toasted cashews, ranch kimchee and lime.

The four judges awarded first prize to Dietterick.

This year, contest updates were posted throughout the day on social media. The challenge was so much fun, however, that next year it will be open to the public, Ruley said.

For information about SoDel Concepts, go to www.sodelconcepts.com.