Comfort Food Fest

This week, I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Comfort Food Fest hosted by John DeBella (Philly radio personality).  Uh… yes.  Comfort Food Fest.  Can you think of anything that would be more perfect for a foodie and blogger like me?

John DeBella presenting the judges for the night

The comfort food fest was started by a conversation had between John DeBella’s wife, and Chef Matt Levin (Square Peg).  She asked him what he makes at home, which inspired John to put together this event where the greatest and hottest Philly chefs create their take on comfort food.

Matt Levin, the first chef in the Comfort Food Fest. Chef of Square Peg

My co-worker Matt invited myself, Dave, and his client Jeff to come with him to the 5th Annual event.  The Food Fest was held at Vie, a beautiful banquet hall onNorth Broad St inPhiladelphia.  I happened to get this wrong and drove us to SOUTH Broad- Whoops!  The setup was almost exactly like what I’d imagine the “catering” episode of Top Chef to be.  Each of the ELEVEN Chefs had tables setup around the perimeter of the room, waiting to serve the crowd.  MMM!

Matt taking his first bite!

Here’s the lineup…

Old Homestead Steakhouse – Borgata – Atlantic City, NJ

Chef:  Romeo DiBona

Dish:  Five-Cheese Grilled Cheese w/ Tomato Soup


The grilled cheese was crispy and gooey and with FIVE cheeses, so flavorful.

Cutting the slabs of 5-cheese grilled cheese... mmmm. I'll take one of those!

Square Peg – 10th & Walnut – Philadelphia, PA

Chef:  Matt Levin

Dish:  Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese w/ Drunken Tomato Marmalade

The Mac & Cheese was so thick and creamy that it stayed on perfectly in between the grilled toast.

Cuba Libre – 10 S 2nd StPhiladelphia, PA

Chef:  Jasper Alivia

Dish:  Crispy Pork Belly Slider w/ Slaw (Chinese BBQ Marinated Pork Belly, Steamed Bun, Pickled Green Papaya Slaw)

Crispy Pork Belly. Nuff said.

Vie – 600 N Broad StPhiladelphia, PA

Chef:  Ryan Kirwan

Dish:  Brisket Shells & Cheese w/ Stewed Tomato Compote and Crispy Parmesan

The parmesan crisp gave the creamy cheese of the shells and the brisket a nice sharp tang!

Amis – 412 S 13th StPhiladelphia, PA

Chef:  Brad Spence

Dish:  Sal’s Old School Meatball Sandwich w/ Burrata Cheese

The meatball was so tender and packed with flavor.

Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar – 549 Wilmington West Chester Pike – Glen Mills, PA

Chef:  David Walti

Dish:  Slow Braised Beef Shortribs Sliders, Onion Poppy Seed Roll, Sweet Potato Aioli, Celeriac Slaw

Who doesn't love short rib... anything??

Route 6 – 600 N Broad StPhiladelphia, PA

Chef:  Anthony DiRienzo

Dish:  Crab Deviled Eggs (American Classic Stuffed w/ Blue Crab)

i LOVE deviled eggs and this was unlike any other I've ever tried! So rich!

Butcher & Singer – 1500 Walnut StPhiladelphia, PA

Chef:  Anthony Goodwin

Dish:  Duck Confit & Foie Gras Pierogie – Porcini Mushroom Crème

beautiful presentation

Nectar – 1091 Lancaster AveBerwyn, PA

Chef:  Patrick Feury

Dish:  Steamed Pork Bun

**BOOOOO!!!  My picture didn’t turn out!!**

Bistrot La Minette – 623 S 6th StPhiladelphia, PA

Chef:  Peter Woolsey

Dish:  Gratin de Pate “a la Peggy” (Macaroni and Cheese)

OMG. I don't even know what was in this but it was UNBELIEVABLE

Chef Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette

Pacific Prime & Vivano – Valley Forge Casino – King of Prussia, PA

Chef:  Michael Inferrera

Dish:  Hot Dog & Baked Beans featuring an Applewood Bacon & Caramelized Shallot Baked Bean Puree, Yellow Mustard Fondue, Gherkin Chip

sorry it turned out so dark! but yum!

WOW!  My mouth is watering just talking about all of this decadent food.  The dishes were judged by local Philly foodies, and the winner was announced… drum roll please!  The winner is:  Chef Anthony Goodwin of Butcher & Singer!


The winner’s dish was unbelievable.  It was one of the only ones I could go back and get seconds of.  However, if I had to pick, my absolute #1 favorite dish would have been the Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese from Chef Matt Levin from Square Peg.  I mean seriously… Mac. And. Cheese…. GRILLED CHEESE?!  Matt’s favorite dish was… and I quote…  “Hands down the Five-Cheese Grilled Cheese w/ Tomato Soup” by Chef Romeo DiBona from the Old Homestead Steakhouse.  Dave’s favorite was the Crispy Pork Belly Slider w/ Slaw from Chef Jasper Alivia from Cuba Libre.  Anyone who’s been counting, this is now the second time in two weeks Dave has REALLY enjoyed pork!

Matt and I enjoying the fabulous food!

All of the dishes were just more amazing than the one before it, and we had such a great time walking around tasting everyone’s creations.

5 thoughts on “Comfort Food Fest

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