- "We need something juicy or wet." - Speer, at left, with Yoss.
- Mystery fish handover.
- "Tyson loves Legos." - Speer
- "We need something starchy." - Yoss
- "I don't know how, but you have to use this in your basket." - Speer
- "If you gave them that it would be like a complete short circuit." - Speer
- "If it was low alcohol, I wouldn't even be drinking it." - Speer
- Two men. A cart. A mission.
- Yoss goes Vanna White at MT Supermarket.
- "I want to see their faces when they open that up and they're like, 'Oh shit.'" - Yoss
- Yoss off-roads in the MT Supermarket parking lot.
This morning, Eater Austin tagged along with Uchi's Director of Culinary Operations Philip Speer and Corporate Chef Jack Yoss while they went shopping for tomorrow's 86'd event, a cutthroat cooking competition wherein Uchi Houston, Uchiko and Uchi Austin staff—anyone who isn't a chef is eligible—face off to win prizes and bragging rights.
"We want to do something for people to sustain the Uchi culture that goes beyond working your shift, clocking out and going home," Speer told Eater Austin of the competition, which began three years ago and was informally known as "Chopped," after the Food Network show. "It's something we can do to go beyond the everyday job."
Speer and Yoss loaded up on produce, protein and dry goods at Central Market and North Austin Asian grocery MT Supermarket. Tomorrow, six competitors from three restaurants, who've survived grueling elimination rounds that began in August, won't know what mystery ingredients they'll be making into an appetizer, entree and dessert with until 10 a.m., at which time
members of the public an invite-only group of friends and family will descend upon Uchiko to witness the showdown. (For an idea of what's in store, check out Eater Houston's behind-the-scenes look at a preliminary round there.)
Best of luck to Amanda Turner and Joe Zoccoli, line cooks from Uchi, production chef Brian Bush and line cook Annie Hongkham at Uchi Houston and line cook Jessica Rupert and server Sharon Bright at Uchiko! After today's shopping trip ... they're certainly going to need it. Check out the slideshow above to get a teaser of what Speer and Yoss may or may not have in store for the competitors.