Last night the prelims of the Waffle House Smackdown got heated and staff photographer Jonathan Boncek was on hand to capture the competition. 

Facing off in round No. 1:

Chris Hall, chef and partner at Unsukay Community of Business in Atlanta which includes Local Three, Muss & Turner’s, Common Quarter, and speakeasy, Eleanor’s.


John Lewis, chef and owner of La Barbecue in Austin, Texas, as well as forthcoming Lewis Barbecue here in Charleston

And round No. 2:

Anthony Lamas, chef and owner of Seviche in Louisville, KY.


Matt McCallister, chef at FT33 in Dallas, Texas.

Chef John Lewis of La Barbecue and Lewis’ Barbecue, tries to execute the technique of the short order cooks of Waffle House. Lewis was ousted by Chris Hall in this round of the competition. 

Bon Appetit’s restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton emcees the competition between John Lewis and Chris Hall. Andrew Knowlton recently spent 24 hours working in a Waffle House for a story in the recent issue of Bon Appetit.

Judges Stephanie Barna and Chef Vivian Howard (Chef & the Farmer) examine Lewis’ efforts.

Stephanie Barna awards Chris Hall a two for plating. This score is on the low end of the spectrum for judging. Matt McCalliste off F33 plating his broken over light eggs.

Matt McCalliste off FT33 plating his broken over light eggs. 
Chef Matt McCallister manning his ‘scattered, smothered, and covered’, hash browns. 

After a tough battle, Hall bested Lewis and Lamas egged McCallister. This morning the two champions will head to the Waffle House Smackdown Finals at 10:30 to compete against last year’s winner, Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly. Will he have what it takes to defend his title? First ever Waffle House Smackdown Winner and Master Blaster, Chef Mike Lata is on the judges panel, so Shepherd better bring his egg-game, er, A-game. 

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