It was back to Catholic school for me Friday night when I attended the Chef Showdown--a fundraiser for the Columbus Museum of Art held at the beautiful, and huge St. Charles High School...

...and though some things reminded me of the old days (the judges table setup eerily resembled Da Vinci's Last Supper), not a single nun gave me the stink eye and I had no urge to light up in the restroom or to roll a smoke bomb down the corridor.

The very clever theme of the evening was "The Art of the Meal," which meant 4 of Columbus' top chefs would take inspiration from four works of art housed in our fine museum.

Here's the chefs and their creations which we were treated to.

Richard Blondin (The Refectory)

Joe Bruckelmeyer (executive chef of Brio)

Erin Chittum (M)

Donald Wood (The Palette Cafe--located in the CMA)

Due to blind good fortune, I sat at the table of two of the judges--Jim Budros (sire of both City BBQ and Spencer Budros, pastry artist of Pistacia Vera) and Steve Stover (of City Scene magazine and scores of cooking classes over the eons). Both were great guys with plenty of sagely advice to offer.

Unexpected funny moment: after rendering their respective decisions, the two continued their rather intense "discussion" back at the table, and after several minutes of that, I asked "How long have you two been arguing over food?" As they broke up and guessed "20...no! 30 years!" the expressions shared by their lovely--if long-suffering-- wives was, as they say, priceless.