Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Union Market, Mess Hall and RIS to Host Launch Pad Grand Finale This Sunday

EDENS Director of Culinary Strategy Richie Brandenburg (Photo: Joy Asico)

From our friends at Union Market...

The 2nd annual Launch Pad, a culinary business competition created by Union Market, Mess Hall and RIS owner Ris Lacoste, will culminate in a live grand finale this Sunday, July 12 from 1-5 PM at Union Market’s Dock 5. Tickets can be purchased for $25 here.

Guests at the finale will be treated to cocktails and small bites as finalists Arepa ZoneBao Bros BarHalf SmokeWhisked, and Bene pitch their original concepts. The winner will be announced by a panel of judges, including restaurant mavens Patrick O’ConnellAaron SilvermanDrew NieporentDavid HallAl Goldberg and Ris Lacoste, and a People’s Choice vote will count towards each finalist’s point total. Winner of Launch Pad will receive a 6-12 month takeover of a fully-built stall in Union Market, as well as a mentorship from Ris Lacoste and other great prizes.

An after-party will feature chefs’ tables with previous Launch Pad contestants, judges, and advisors. Guests will mingle with food and drink mavens such as DC Brau's Jeff HancockMari Rodela, and Brendan SkallCake Love owner Warren Brown, and Capital Kombucha owner John Lee, among others. Locally produced snacks and beverages will be provided, and hometown bartenders will mix specialty cocktails featuring Jefferson’s Ridiculously Small Batch Bourbon, Gosling's Rums, and Pallini Limoncello.

Who: Union Market, Mess Hall, RIS owner Ris Lacoste
What: Launch Pad Grand Finale
Where: Dock 5, Union Market (1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002)
When: Sunday, July 12, 1-5 PM

Tickets: $25 - Tickets can be purchased here.

•  Al Goldberg - Founder, Mess Hall
•  David Hall - Investor, Revolution
•  Ris Lacoste - Chef/Owner, RIS
•  Drew Nieporent - Restaurateur, Myriad Restaurant Group
•  Patrick O’Connell - Chef/Owner, The Inn at Little Washington
•  Aaron Silverman- Chef/Owner, Rose’s Luxury

•  Terrell Danley - Chef, DC Central Kitchen
•  Eric and Ian Hilton - Restaurateurs
•  Spike Mendelsohn - Good Stuff Eatery, DC Food Policy Council Chair
•  Nick Stefanelli - Chef / Owner, Masseria
•  Kathy Hollinger - President and CEO, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington
•  Eric Kessler - Founder / Managing Director, Arabella Advisors
•  Mike Lenard - Owner, TaKorean, Former Head of the Food Truck Association
•  Winston Lord - Co-Founder, Venga
•  Mark Toigo - Grower
•  Richie Brandenburg - Directory of Culinary Strategy, Eden

• Arepa Zone - Arepa Zone Co-owners Ari Arellano and Gabriela Febres hope to bring their Venezuelan food truck offerings from the streets to Union Market with their acclaimed arepas, cachapa, and tequeños. Their eats were voted Best New Food Truck, Food Truck of the Year, and Breakthrough Dish (Surfing Arepa) at the 2014 Curbside Cookoff Food Truck Awards.

• Bao Bros Bar - Louis Grayson and Nelson Wong turn traditional Chinese bao into a fast-casual dining experience. Their sticky, steamy bread buns can be filled with pork belly, lamb, chicken, or tofu, and combined with a variety of tasty vegetables and sauces. Puniest bun? The “Rocky Baoboa” (steak, crispy onion, shallot, & jalapeño.)

• Half Smoke - Aspiring restaurateur Andre McCain touts robust pork, beef, chicken and veggie sausages with fully customizable toppings, such as chili, kimchi and artichokes. As the seasons change, he plans to incorporate more exotic offerings, like foie gras, duck sausage, and smoked elk. Savory sides include tater tots and brussels sprout, and sweet-toothed gourmands will enjoy classic funnel cake for dessert.

• Whisked! - Already an established presence among farmer’s markets and coffee shops throughout the District, Whisked! is now competing for a more permanent and visible space inside of Union Market with their crispy quiches, gorgeous pies, and soft and chewy cookies. The baker behind the concept, Jenna Huntsberger, has plans to expand the current menu if she wins this year’s competition.

• Bene - Mark Baik, Mini Suh and Jin Woo Park are the brains behind this fast-casual Italian concept. Bene would serve high-quality fresh pasta bowls in a matter of minutes, including the impressive squid ink pasta with calamari, seasonal tortellini, and classic spaghetti and meatballs. Even better, all ingredients would be locally sourced.

Union Market, located a short walk from the NoMa/Gallaudet metro, is a 45-acre district that is planned for over 7 million square feet. EDENS has a clear vision to create of DC’s most vibrant, interesting, and thriving neighborhoods. Since opening in September 2012, The Market at Union Market, with over 40 local artisan food and beverage vendors, now averages 10,000 - 15,000 visitors per weekend and has held over 100 events. Over the last several months, the Union Market district has also become a unique and alternative destination. For more information about Union Market, please visit 1309 5th Street NE, Washington D.C. 20002.

Mess Hall is a culinary incubator in Washington DC. It supports up-and-coming food entrepreneurs by providing commercial kitchens combined with institutional knowledge and extraordinary opportunities. Mess Hall supports a vibrant and diverse local food community, all while leveraging shared resources and a true spirit of collaboration. The 10,000 sq ft facility boasts 4 shared kitchens, walk-in refrigeration, collaborative offices, ample storage, and an expansive event space where food brings people together. Learn more at FB/Twitter/Instagram @MessHall #LaunchPadDC

Locations in West End, Washington DC and Union Market. Chef Ris Lacoste has been a fixture on the DC culinary scene for almost two decades. For Ris it has always been about the food and the people. In 2009, she opened RIS an incarnation of her personal style and taste, which embodies her passion for flavor and commitment to excellence. Her involvement in Launch Pad is pure Ris–a dedication to giving back to those who have given her so much. RIS is located at 2275 L Street NW, Washington DC. Learn more at FB/Twitter/Instagram @RisDC #LaunchPadDC