On a day when the temperature soared above 100 degrees, chefs turned out in force to compete for the Food Prize Golden Fork.

Five finalists have been selected to move on to the next phase of the competition:

Eleazar Mondragon was born and raised in Mexico where he unknowingly started his culinary journey; inspiration stemming from family cooks and the delicacies of Mexico. He began culinary school at BPCC in 2010, then Le Cordon Bleu in 2011. Eleazar is co-owner of Ki Mexico with his brother where his mother, father, and cousin also work. He won the Louisiana Food Prize Battle for the Golden Fork in 2017 and has been a returning competitor three years in a row.

Jessica Comegys began her professional culinary career in 2005 as the pastry chef at a local casino. This lead to an executive chef position at the Cambridge Club of Shreveport, where time honored traditions taught valuable lessons in fine dining and service. Now, as the creator of Caspiana Catering and Meal Prep, and a certified holistic health coach she has dedicated herself to helping people set their wellness goals and achieve overall happiness in all areas of life.

Robert Minor found his love for cooking at Jamestown Settlement Café in Virginia. He attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College in Atlanta, Georgia in 2007, graduating Supa Cum Laude. He was recruited by MGM’s Beau Rivage in 2013 as Executive Room Chef for Jia Pan Asian Restaurant. Robert joined Margaritaville Casino resort in 2017, as Executive Sous Chef, bringing more than 20 years of culinary experience in a wide variety of styles and techniques.

Megan Chavez has been cooking since age 12, entering cooking competitions through 4H and after school programs. During her culinary development, she realized the importance and power of quality ingredients and mindfulness of what we eat which led to her passion for educating people on living healthy lifestyles. With a growing meal prep company Prepped Up Meals under her belt before the age of 25, she opened her first restaurant Tempo Eatery at 29.

Niematulai Longstratt has over twenty years of professional business experience, to include business ownership of RNL Authentics, LLC (an authentic African clothing and accessory line), Business Development Manager, Bank Teller and Administrative Assistant. Niema is a chef, and in her spare time, she enjoys preparing and sharing her deliciously creative authentic African cuisine which she fuses with American flavors.

If you want to see them in action on October 4th, get your tickets at prizefest.org and be part of this big event.

The ultimate winner of the Golden Fork takes home the bragging rights and $5,000 in cash.