RRC Grad and Pine Ridge Hollow chef, Matty Neufeld battled against fellow RRC alumni from Khaohouse during the Kitchen Kumite: Clash of Pans competition in support of CancerCare Manitoba on Sunday night.

The classic line “Let the battle begin,” from Food Network’s “Iron Chef “wasn’t only heard through TV screens this past weekend.

Local judges were shouting it too but at some of Winnipeg’s hottest chefs — many being RRC alumni — during the first ever Kitchen Kumite: Clash of Pans competition on Sept. 24. The event was a fundraiser for CancerCare Manitoba.

“There’s so much talent in the city and it’s only getting better. This is the first of its kind but it’s an awesome way for chefs to show off,” said Alan Pineda, an RRC Culinary Arts grad from 2006 who created the event.

The inspiration for Pineda’s brainchild came from seeing how the restaurant industry in Winnipeg has evolved over the years and how so many of the city’s chefs are RRC alumni.

“There’s definitely a standard the College sets for us and kitchens love seeing that,” he said during Sunday night’s event as chefs duked it out behind him at Donald Street’s Kitchen Sync.

The four-round competition heated up quickly and a total of 16 chefs took over the ovens, creating on-the-fly dishes from locally sourced ingredients.

Eight of the competing chefs were RRC culinary grads who now work at what Pineda calls the the city’s “trendiest restaurants,” like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ Era, Sydney’s at The Forks, Clementine and Pine Ridge Hollow. One of those eight RRC grads was Masterchef Canada runner up Jeremy Senaris.

Creating a dish with ham hog and chocolate, Mike Robins from Sous Soul managed to win the battle against chefs from Crème DeL’Essence

“It was pretty intense,” said Robins. “Reminded me what it was like to be back at school.”

Another winning dish came from Jackie Hildebrand — a culinary grad and chef at Hy’s Steakhouse — who wowed judges with her quinoa fritters.

“I’m still shaking but it was so much fun and for an awesome cause,” said Hildebrand. “I’m really proud to be working in Winnipeg right now and seeing all the talent we have.”

If you missed Sunday night’s competition, it’s not too late to take in a piece of the action. MTS’ “Stories from Home” will air the event later this fall in a tentative 3-part mini-series. Kitchen Kumite’s semi-finals and finals will be held on October 1 at the Kitchen Sync.