It’s no secret Adam Jones is a stellar ball player, but did you also know he’s a huge connoisseur of food?? He has been part of the Care First Fan Challenge for years, in which Jones encourages fans to challenge him to various activities. And in recent years, the challenges have become more centered around food; in 2014, it was a Burger Competition and in 2015, it was a BBQ Battle. Not only is this year’s challenge food related, but it’s a cook-off competition with one special twist: the submission must be a ballpark-themed menu item!
After a week of entries, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) announced that Jones hand-selected the 2016 winner: husband and wife duo, Kevin and Elizabeth Irish, owners of restaurant The Local Fry. This local federal hill spot serves up sandwiches and specialty fries topped with items such as Carnitas, Southwestern BBQ, Kimchi Pork Belly, and my personal favorite, Buffalo Chicken.
The competition took place August 3, 2016 during O’s Xtra, the Orioles exclusive pre-game show, before the Birds took on the Rangers. If competing against Jones wasn’t enough to make the Irishes nervous, the competition came stocked with a panel of local celebrity judges, including Chef Chad Gauss of The Food Market, located in Hampden, 13-year old Bryce Taylor, a Food Network Teen Chef and Junior Finalist from Food Network’s show, ‘Chopped Junior’ from Mount Washington. (Watch the video here) and Zach Britton, pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.
Chris Person, Sous Chef for Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, where the competition took place, served as Jones’ assistant for the event.
The Irishes came in hot with two options for the judges: fries topped with braised short rib, crema, pickled red onion and toasted sesame seeds, as well as fries topped with jerk chicken, mango salsa and cole slaw. But it wasn’t enough to beat the reigning champion. It was a sweep across the three judges, all unanimously picking Jones’ fries topped with carne asada, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and cilantro, “a mountain of calories” as Jones referred to them.
Chef Bryce Taylor said of Jones’ fries, “they were the best thing I’ve had to eat today so far.” Chef Chad Gauss went on to say, “the ingredients were the perfect consistency to enhance the french fries and not damage the potato.” Being that he’s a “huge fan of comfort food,” these hit a home run for him.
Jones presented the Irishes with an idea to add his fries to The Local Fry’s menu. We’ll see if they make an appearance in the coming weeks. Congrats Adam!!