An Interview with Mike W. White, Chef/Owner High Point Grill
and Director of 505 Food Fights
Local Herp: Best Event
Photos by Stephanie Cameron
Competitors at the Fiery Foods Show 505 Food Fights: Jessie Rae Arbogast of The Zia Chef, Carmen Rodriguez of Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, and Sara Tori Green of Sunrise Springs Spa Resort.
505 Food Fights is a bracket-style culinary competition pitting New Mexico chefs head-to-head in a secret ingredients challenge. Chefs have one hour to produce two unique dishes, featuring three mystery ingredients. Spectators are charged ten dollars at the door to cheer on their favorite chefs. All proceeds go to a designated local charity.
How and when did 505 Food Fights start?
505 Food Fights was created several years ago by a couple friends of mine, at which time I was merely an enthusiastic competitor. Since that time, I have taken over directorship and grown the brand, making High Point Grill the event’s regular home. I believe chefs, along with public figures, have a duty to enrich the communities they live in. 505 Food Fights is the perfect venue to both raise money for New Mexico charities and bring awareness to the deep talent we have in our New Mexico culinary scene.
How much have you raised over the years? To how many causes have you donated?
In the last two years alone we have donated to over twenty local New Mexico causes, totaling over $20,000. Causes have included The Kitchen Kids, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, New Mexico Autism Society, New Mexico Chapter of the American Heart Association, Rebels with a Cause, Pediatric Congenital Heart Association, and many, many more!
How do you choose which ingredients for each food fight? What’s your favorite ingredient combination you’ve thrown at the competing chefs?
Ingredients are often categorized by giving competitors a protein, a produce or dairy item, and a culinary curveball. I often source inspiration from others by asking them to randomly name items within the categories and I combine them in unexpected ways. The curveball is usually the category people most fear, having been any number of things from canned fruit cocktail to a child’s birthday cake to flaming hot Cheetos. Other times the protein is most feared when it’s something extreme, such as whole beef heart, chicken livers, or belt fish.
Who will be competing in the next competition?
The Regular Season of 505 Food Fights will resume in mid-2020, featuring several new and returning chefs from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe. Two-time champion Dominic Valenzuela will lead the pack with the biggest target on his back.
What charities will you be donating to in 2020?
We again will be donating exclusively to local New Mexico charities: The Kitchen Kids, Rebels with a Cause, New Mexico Chapter of American Suicide Prevention, Hands Across Time New Mexico, NM Dental Care in your Home, New Mexico Autism Society, Roadrunner Food Bank, Watermelon Mountain Ranch, Street Food Institute, St. Felix Food Pantry, Storehouse New Mexico, New Mexico Hospitality Industry Education Foundation, the SANE collaborative, New Mexico Make-a-Wish Foundation, SAFE house NM and many more.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with edible readers?
Please support New Mexico chefs! We have some of the most talented chefs in the entire country right here. They have been putting their talents out there and donating their time in order to raise money for New Mexico charities. It’s my personal passion to raise as much money and give as much time and resources back to New Mexico communities as we possibly can.
Find more information about upcoming 505 Food Fights at highpointgrill.com.