LOS ANGELES — Teams of high school students and restaurant executives took part in a fast-paced, high-stakes cooking competition on Sunday, August 19th at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Temecula-based Wedgewood Weddings took home the top prize – The Purse – for raising more than $4,000 for high school culinary arts programs in California. The Culinary + Cocktail Clash was hosted at the Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo; the competition benefited the California Restaurant Association Foundation by helping fund training programs for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs.

​Restaurant teams consisted of an executive, a corporate chef, and a student of the ProStart program, the high school culinary arts and career exploration program that thousands of students throughout California are enrolled in.

During the Culinary Clash, teams had 30 minutes to create an amuse bouche and an entrée. Special ingredients include Coca-Cola, Foster Farms turkey, and a secret ingredient (peaches), provided by FreshPoint. Teams were also required to use a KitchenAid blender or mixer.

During the Cocktail Clash, teams of one or two bartenders had just five minutes to create a craft cocktail using a Coca-Cola product, Don Julio or Ketel One, and a Torani syrup. Cocktails were judged on taste, complexity, garnish and creativity.

Border Grill, Pie ‘n Burger, Leuzinger High School’s ProStart Program, and Foster Farms served bites to attendees while Karl Strauss, Rodney Strong and Ketel One sampled drinks.

Culinary Clash Winners:

  • The Purse – Wedgewood Weddings
  • Coca-Cola Champ – Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
  • Golden Glove Champ – House of Blues
  • Golden Plate Champ – BJ’s Restaurants
  • Teamwork Champ – California Fish Grill
  • Ecolab Champ – Urban Plates
  • safeTstep Shoefie Award – Andrew Moreno with California Fish Grill
  • KitchenAid Commercial Equipment Champs – Lawry’s Restaurants + Wedgewood Weddings
  • Foster Farms Champ – Pacifica Hotels
  • FreshPoint Secret Ingredient Champ – Black Bear Diner
  • Team Spirit Award – Black Bear Diner
  • Best Bite Champ – Specialty Restaurants Corp.
  • Mentor of the Year – Louie Jocson, California Fish Grill
  • People’s Choice – Hard Rock Café

Cocktail Clash Winners:

  • Diageo Golden Goblet – Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
  • Coca-Cola Champ – Pacifica Hotels
  • Best Garnish Award – House of Blues
  • The Craftiest – Rock & Brews


  • Coca-Cola
  • Sysco
  • The Statewide Utilities
  • FreshPoint
  • Diageo (Ketel One + Don Julio)
  • Clover
  • Ecolab
  • Torani
  • Foster Farms
  • Gold Label, Inc.
  • Kitchen Aid Commercial
  • Bamboo Studio
  • safeTstep
  • United Healthcare
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
  • Online Restaurant Manager​