Don’t read on an empty stomach: Culinary challenge at Roy’s in Pasadena


It’s almost dinner time, so we thought you could stomach this post. (Although we can’t promise tonight’s microwaveable veggie burgers will have the same taste after you’re done reading about this epicurean adventure at Roy’s.)

Chef Roy Yamaguchi visited his namesake Pasadena restaurant yesterday evening for a gourmet challenge that paired culinary students from the California School of Culinary Arts with top chefs to create a five-course meal for judges.

The winning student, Ariel Fujita, earned an internship with a Roy’s chef for her creation: an Asian flank steak.

Cooking alongside the students were chefs Akira Hirose of Maison Akira; Gary Watanabe of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Pasadena; Daniel Rossi of the culinary arts school; and Chris George of Roy’s.

The judges for the challenge were TV and movie director Oz Scott; “Dinner and a Movie” host Janet Varnay; “Cheers” star John Ratzenberger; Pasadena magazine managing editor Sarah Haufrect; and Nigel Clark, vice president of international marketing for Sony Pictures.

And now, for the main course; Feast your eyes on these yummy photos:

Let’s take it from the top: Chef Roy Yamaguchi in the kitchen at Roy’s Hawaiian fusion restaurant. Middle, the winning dish, an Asian flank steak, crafted by Ariel Fujita. Bottom, guest judge Janet Varnay, host of TBS’ “Dinner and a Movie” (center).

Clockwise below, starting at top left: Seared salmon wrapped in crunchy nori. Roy’s chefs Chris George, left, and Keith Yamaguchi working the kitchen. Miso seared foie gras. Toffee crunch bar with strawberry-guava marscapone. Pan-seared day scallops. Culinary student Stefan Lam prepares a dish before the judges’ table. (All photos by Keith Birmingham)