Brooklyn’s greatest competitive chef is coming out of retirement for one last sizzling sauté.
Five-time cooking champion Theo Peck will take on three-time winner Nick Suarez in a beef battle for the ages.
The cooking showdown headlines next weekend’s Taste of Williamsburg, a fundraiser for the Northside Town Hall Community Center on Wythe Avenue, featuring more than 40 vendors from the neighborhood’s hottest restaurants and bars.
For $35, foodies can sample a veritable bounty of treats including fava bean soup shooters from Aurora, Maine crab salad from Dressler, braised pork cheeks from Traif, chicken biscuits from Pies ’n Thighs, and ice cream from Van Leeuwen.
But the real gut check remains the Firehouse Beans Cookoff, where Peck will debut his pan-fried corned beef hash with deviled eggs against Suarez’s pastrami chili for the public to determine who is worthy of smoked meat supremacy.
Peck, despite being the favorite, is nervous. He thinks Suarez has the advantage, given the superiority of pastrami to pretty much everything else.
“If he doesn’t beat me, he should feel a little bit ashamed,” said Peck.
It’s setting up to be the biggest food battle since Chestnut beat Kobayashi at Coney for the first time in 2007.
“Theo is going down, big time,” said Suarez. “He is afraid. He has everything to lose. I have nothing to lose and I will have bragging rights forever if I win.”
The two men, once culinary rivals, wiped the plate clean on the culinary cookoff circuit last year, collecting an incomprehensible 21 first- and second-place prizes. Now friends, they have co-founded a catering business, The Food Experiments.
Yet Peck remains the Brett Favre of competitive cooking and simply could not say no to one last competition before he gets married next month and abandons the sport forever (he’s catering his own wedding).
“I want to win this event. I don’t want Nick to have bragging rights. It’s personal this time,” said Peck.
Taste of Williamsburg (N. 11th Street between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg), May 16, noon–4 pm. Tickets are $35. For info, visit www.tastewg.com.