Nick Suarez and Theo Peck have been busy this year. Their perennially popular cheftestant cook-off series, the Food Experiments, has been on the road across America (and in Sweden) for the last year, and just to make things extra nice they brought all the Grand Prize audience choice winners to Brooklyn this weekend to participate in the Food Experiments National Championship, an amateur cookoff sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Jet Blue. Awesome, right?

It gets awesomer. On the Friday before “game time,” a party bus was acquired, the bus was loaded with cases of cold Brooklyn Brewery beer and Crif Dogs, and Suarez and Peck led the contestants on a bumpy food crawl through Brooklyn. The first stop was legendary pizzeria Di Fara’s for a stack of pies. As the bus driver tried to find his way from Di Fara’s to Yunnan Flavor Snack in Sunset Park so we could get our crispy pork noodles on, the party bus cranked up the smack talking and planning for Sunday’s finals. You haven’t lived if you’ve never tried to eat searing hot noodle soup (both temperature and spice) while standing on a bus with a beer in one hand bouncing over outer-borough potholes. The final stop of the evening was Mile End Delicatessen for pastrami sandwiches, Jewish carnivore heaven. Then it was back to the Wythe Hotel to part ways and make plans for Sunday’s finals (here’s our recap of the finals).

Ironically, the Grand Prize winner on Sunday was Chef Charles (real name Chalaka Disanayake) of Brooklyn, who did not come out to play on the party bus. Maybe he had the hometown advantage and a hangover-free weekend. We demand a rematch…next year.

Here’s a list of winners and participants from The Food Experiments National Championship last weekend in Brooklyn:


  • 1st Place – Team Brooklyn / ”Chef Charles” (Chalaka Disanayake) – Jewel Crusted Shrimp
  • 2nd Place – Team Durham / Brian Stratton – You’re Bacon Me Crazy
  • 3rd Place – Team Minnesota / Krista Craven – Chocolate & Spice, Mexican Chocolate Mini Pies


  • 1st Place – Team Philadelphia / Dan Tarng & Craig Shilowich – Jawns 3-D, Return of the Jawndi
  • 2nd Place – Team Houston / Erin Krenek (The Magic Hops) – Scotch Dates
  • 3rd Place – Team New Jersey / Max Chanoch (Bite Me This One’s For You) – The Ox, the Moon, & the Chinese Spoon

Nick/Theo Award for Experimentation:

  • Team Pittsburgh / Harry Lorusso (The Pork Dorks) – Smoked Pork Dumpling with BBQ sauce

Spirit Award:

  • Team Stockholm Sweden / Christer Söderberg & Per Ehrlund (Cuttin’ Chris & Eatin’ Ehrlund) – Nordic Bite

Other Cheftestants:

  • Boston / Josh Gee
  • DC / Nicholas Van Panhuys
  • Austin / Liz Arredondo
  • Chicago / Jonathon Haener
  • Columbus / Joey Funtjar
  • Atlanta / Chris Hassiotis