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Sol Mexican Cocina’s Chef Deb wins Guy’s Grocery Games, takes home $20,000

Our Newport Beach restaurateur, Sol Mexican Cocina’s Chef Deborah Schneider, won the “ABC Games” battle on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, airing Wednesday, July 24 at 9 p.m. She beat out three male chefs with her victorious win. The judges were renowned chefs Beau MacMillan, Richard Blais and Antonia Lofaso. 

Sol Mexican Cocina Chef Deborah Schneider

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Photos courtesy of Food Network

Sol Mexican Cocina’s Chef Deborah Schneider wins the “ABC Games” battle on “Guy’s Grocery Games” 

Here’s the breakdown of the show and what Chef Deb did, with each of the three rounds relegating the contestants to use ingredients starting with only one letter of the alphabet that host Guy Fieri chose, then making their own interpretations of the meal selection they’re given.

Round 1: The letter “C” to make an Ultimate Comfort Classic. Chef Deb made Queso Fundido with two types of cheeses and chorizo, topped with fried corn tortilla strips with a salsa of Campari tomatoes and cipollini onions. She beat out the other three chefs, two of who made their versions of macaroni and cheese with crab (Keith and Michael) and Alex who fried catfish and placed it atop creamed corn. “Deborah’s dish is ready to be on a menu that earns a James Beard award,” Blais commented. Chef Keith checks out.

Sol Mexican Cocina battling chefs

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 (L-R) Chefs Keith Clinton, Deborah Schneider, Alex Eaton and Michael Lugo ready to face down in Flavortown Market

Round 2: The letter “S” to make the Best Seafood Dinner in “ABC Watch Your Weight” with contestants having to limit their ingredients’ combined weight to seven pounds. Chef Deb seared scallops atop salmon with seared shishito peppers and a sriracha, butter and red wine vinegar sauce with a side of fried sweet potato chips. Alex made grilled shrimp with salsa verde on top of a sunchoke puree with shishitos and a shitake mushroom/onion sauté, while Michael made saffron butter-basted scallops with braised Swiss chard. “The salmon is very still tender, moist and flavorful,” said MacMillan, commenting on Chef Deb’s dish. Chef Michael checks out.

Round 3: “What we have here is the Southern chef vs. the Southern California restaurateur,” Fieri said. And the letter is “B.” “For this challenge, I want you to make the Ultimate Fried Dinner. This is a ‘B’ for Budget Battle,” said Fieri, who rolled varying dollar amount disks...the nearest landing to the contestants was their shopping budget...$23. The two words that pop into Chef Deb’s head is beer and batter...so it’s beer-battered bacon and beef (steak). Brussels sprouts and basil (which she’ll fry) and a bunch of beets for beet chips she can also fry to round out the dish. Her shopping tab comes to $26.11. She puts back one of the cans of beer and half of the sprouts which now totals $22.64 and she’s off cooking. Alex chooses to make a country fried beef and bacon burger with fried rice and broccoli with a black bean vinaigrette, with ingredients for $18.50. Commenting on Chef Deb’s dish, Lofaso said the “beer-battered bacon is genius,” but thought it was lacking sauce. Blaise thought with so much sweetness in the beets it acted like a red wine sauce. And Chef Deb wins GGG All ABC Games...then goes shopping to gather all five ingredients on the list to win $20,000 with a photo finish!

 “If I win, I am going to donate some of the money to Home Boy, Home Girl Industries in Los Angeles,” said Chef Deb, who would also like to use some of the money to visit France. “I just won $20,000 because I know my ABC’s. You know what that means? I will always be cooking,” she quipped.

Sol Mexican Cocina is located at 251 Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach. For more information, visit www.solcocina.com.