TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – In the end, it came down to three votes.
Chef Carl Van Dekker, from The Village Dog in Tarrytown, defeated Chef Eric Korn, from Good-Life Gourmet in Irvington, in the final round of the Golden Knives Challenge on Thursday night after what Van Dekker described as "three very long, very enjoyable weeks."
Van Dekker, a Hastings resident, celebrated his win by pouring champagne into his trophy and drinking it with Korn.
"This was a fantastic event and an incredible amount of fun," Van Dekker said, adding that cooking and learning with the other competitors "made it all worth while."
The Golden Knives Challenge, organized by Korn, brought six local chefs together to battle it out in a pop-up restaurant at the Lodge at Hudson Harbor in Tarrytown. Diners voted for their favorite chefs after each meal.
Competitors included Alex Sze from Juniper in Hastings, Navjot Arora from Chutney Masala in Irvington, Carl Van Dekker from The Village Dog in Tarrytown, Sean Corcoran from the Peekskill Brewery in Peekskill, Korn, and Diane Forley and Michael Otsuka from the Flourish Baking Company in Scarsdale.
Van Dekker received $5,000, a golden trophy and a set of knives as the grand prize.
Korn called the challenge "a great success" and said he hopes to bring back something like the challenge on a larger scale a few times a year.
"It was great for us to cook for our customers and show them what we can really do," Korn said. "It was great working with these chefs. That's where we had a lot of fun: cooking together and getting to know one another."
Korn said he was bummed by the loss, but learned a lot cooking with Van Dekker.
"You come into this wanting to win; it's a competition and the competitive juices are flowing," he said. "At the same time, Carl is a talented guy, and it's been good cooking with him."