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This is it: the final Showdown!

Beginning back on July 15, chefs from eight of the region’s best restaurants  — Ichicoro Imoto, The Mill, Mise en Place, Noble Crust, Oxford Exchange, Parkshore Grill, Red Mesa and Rooster & the Till — took part in cooking duels at the Epicurean Hotel in which contestants turned surprise ingredients into unique dishes under the pressure of the clock. Through six weeks of competition, with one chef eliminated each week by panels of celebrity judges, two chefs were left standing for tonight’s finale: Wayne Mather from Mise en Place vs. Alan Garcia from Parkshore Grill, making it a battle between two long-time favorites on both sides of the bay. The judges charged with making the difficult choice: Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper and one more to be announced, plus the irrepressible emcee, Master Chef alum Jeff Philbin. 

Want to root for your favorite chef in person? The finale takes place inside the Epicurean Theatre from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. tonight, with a limited number of tickets available to the public for $350 a pair, which includes a coursed meal with wine pairings. Those without tickets can watch from the hotel’s lobby area, where the event will be shown on big screen TVs. In addition, Epic Chef Showdown will be streamed live through The Identity Tampa Bay’s channel and mobile app and in Epicurean Hotel guest rooms.

The best part of the competition? It’s not only a chance for a local restaurant to snag epic bragging rights, it also benefits Feeding Tampa Bay, the area’s largest food rescue and distribution organization. Sounds like a win-win no matter who serves up the championship dish.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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