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February 2.09

Dollar Store DATE NIGHT

This month Spokane Metro cooks up an intimate Valentine’s Day dinner for ten … dollars, that is!

By Amy Klamper | Photography by Ben Delaney and Metro Staff

With the slumping economy taking a bite out of our Valentine’s Day budget, dishing up a romantic meal for two on the cheap makes a lot of sense. It’s a challenge we posed recently to three local chefs, all of whom joined us Jan. 6 for the first annual “Spokane Metro Chefs Invitational” at the new Taste Cafe and Gourmet to Go in downtown Spokane.

The contenders, selected for their culinary ingenuity and willingness to experiment with dollar-store fare, included the Spokane Club’s venerable Chef Ray Delfino, the Globe’s freewheeling Chef Howard Bateman, and Chef Race Jones, formerly of Europa and now a culinary consultant. The challenge? Prepare, cook and plate a dinner for two—comprising an appetizer, main course and dessert—for $10 or less. In under an hour.

Taste owners Jane and Hannah Heber were kind enough to let us commandeer their new kitchen in January prior to opening the new bakery cafe this month. It goes without saying that Taste’s new kitchen is gorgeous and highly functional, but because the cafe is primarily a breakfast and lunch eatery, we had to rent a couple of propane burners to provide open flame for the Iron Chef-style event (naturally, one of the burners didn’t work … wait, is that gas I smell?). Needless to say, our first invitational was a bit of a learning experience, but one that culminated in delicious results, thanks to everyone involved.

We’re showing a few outtakes from the event, see below. For the full story, including dollar-store locations, contest results and Ben Delaney’s gorgeous photos of each meal, check out the February 2009 issue of Spokane Metro Magazine.

Metro's marketing guru, Eric Klamper, grabs a bottle of wine from the cooler

Metro's marketing guru, Eric Klamper, grabs a bottle of wine from the cooler

Chef Race Jones at work in Taste's virgin kitchen

Chef Race Jones at work in Taste's virgin kitchen

The Spokane Club's Chef Ray Delfino prepares his pan-seared flounder

The Spokane Club's Chef Ray Delfino prepares his pan-seared flounder

Chef Howard Bateman of The Globe awaits a turn on the propane burner

Chef Howard Bateman of The Globe awaits a turn on the propane burner

Ben trying to get some work done

Ben Delaney, trying to get some work done

taste, presentation and creativity

Our chefs were judged in three categories: taste, presentation and creativity

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  1. I would like to know how to contact the chef race jones.

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