‘Iron Chef’-type contest, other food events coming to La Jolla


By Ashley Mackin

January is shaping up to be the month of food in La Jolla. Between an “Iron Chef” competition, the premiere of the “Dishcrawl,” and San Diego Restaurant Week, there is much to taste around town.

La Jolla’s Harvard Cookin’ Girl school will host an “Iron Chef” competition 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7441 Girard Ave. It will pit Marko Dedic, maitre d’ at Rancho Santa Fe’s Mille Fleurs against Renata Meretskaya, blogger of “Tasteology: Not Your Average Food Blog.” The event is sold out.

The competition will not be like the show on the Food Network, but uses the term “Iron Chef” as a mark of respect. There is no mystery ingredient, but the dishes will be a surprise to the diners.

Harvard Cookin’ Girl owner and event organizer Bibi Kasrai said the chefs will have 45 minutes to make an appetizer and 45 minutes for an entrée, which will be tasted head to head. The presentation is just as important as the food. “They have to be able to entertain, they have to be able to cook and they have to be able to (maintain) an audience,” she said. So through Facebook and her newsletter, Kasrai put a call out to the community for those who meet the criteria.

Finding several that worked, she matched Dedic and Meretskaya up for the competition.

Dedic said he has “no doubt” that he will win with his dish because of his passion for food and love of competition. With neither himself nor Meretskaya being trained chefs, he said he can’t wait for the opportunity to compete. “I think it’s a fantastic way to incorporate people who are not trained chefs, but really are passionate about food and wine, to step up and show what they know.”

The diners act as the judges, along with two local restaurateurs, which have yet to be confirmed. Sponsors that donated ingredients include World Market, Whole Foods and Ariccia Market. For more information, visit

The first La Jolla “Dishcrawl,” will offer a guided tour of four mystery restaurants, the opportunity to try a special plate and meet the chef at 7 p.m. Jan. 29. The restau- rants will be revealed two days prior to the crawl. The Dishcrawl started in the bay area and has expanded to cities such as San Fran- cisco, New York, Philadelphia and others. Tickets are $45 at

“La Jolla was chosen as another neighborhood to explore and to feature the already famous dining it has to offer,” said La Jolla Dishcrawl Ambassador Marciana Flores.

More than 20 La Jolla restaurants will participate in San Diego Restaurant Week, Jan. 13-18. During Restaurant Week, a three- course prix fixe dinner costs $20, $30 or $40, or a two-course lunch menu costs $10, $15 or $20, depending on the restaurant. For a list of participating restaurants and the cost, visit

‘Iron Chef’-type competition

What: Head-to-head cooking contest

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16

Where: Harvard Cookin’ Girl cooking school, 441 Girard Ave., La Jolla

Admission: $55 (Sold Out) n Website:


What: A guided tour of four mystery La Jolla restaurants

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29

Where: To be revealed two days prior to the tour

Admission: $45 n Website:

San Diego Restaurant Week