Chef Navjot Arora Wins Round Two of the Golden Knives Challenge in Tarrytown


Round two of the Golden Knives Challenge pitted co-Chefs Diane Forley and Michael Otsuka (Flourish Baking Company, Scarsdale) against the Indian flavors of Chef Navjot Arora (Chutney Masala, Irvington). The evening started out similar to the first; Chef Eric Korn‘s crew of amazing waitstaff was busily serving the last course of the 7 p.m. seating, and those waiting for tables were left in anticipation to see what was yet to come.

golden knives challenge

Each evening’s menu is strategically placed at each table, and as guests take their seats, they get the big reveal. Guests quickly start conversing over what’s to come, possibly covering for the growls coming from their stomach. But you don’t have to wait long.

golden knives challenge

For the appetizer course, Chefs Forley and Otsuka served a beautiful beet tartare with pressed baby spinach, ginger carrots and miner’s lettuce.

golden knives challenge

Chef Arora toned down the traditional Indian flavors he’s known for ever so slightly (probably to please those guests who may not be familiar with the cuisine), but sent out a still flavorful paapdi chat—a cold layered combination of semolina crisps, dice potatoes and chickpeas topped with yogurt and chutneys.

After the appetizer course was whisked away, the entree courses arrived, with Chefs Forley and Otsuka serving a sautéed halibut and Chef Arora providing chicken malai tikka.

golden knives challenge

The halibut was cooked to perfect, and plated with rhubarb confit, wild ramps and sorrel. All sat upon a bed of tea-smoked jasmine rice.

golden knives challenge

The tandoori grilled chicken was covered in a fenugreek-scented tomato cream sauce and paired with a fried patty of spinach, cheese and lentils over Basmati lemon rice. The flavorful marinated chicken was enough to tantalize the tastebuds, but the added depth of flavor from the cream sauce left guests wanting more.

golden knives challenge

Dessert was probably the hardest to judge, with both teams preparing well-rounded finishes to the three-course meals. Chefs Forley and Otsuka prepared a delicious strawberry tart with candied Meyer lemon and elderflower mousse. Chef Arora offered soft cheese dumplings on warm carrot pudding quenelles, covered in a sweetened saffron and cardamon milk reduction.

Chef Arora was announced the winner on the Golden Knives Facebook page this morning, after last night’s votes were tallied. This evening, Chef Korn and Peekskill Brewery’s Chef Sean Corcoran will battle it out for the last of the initial challenges this week.

Chef Carl Van Dekker (The Village Dog, Tarrytown), Chef Arora and tonight’s winner will move on to next week. One of them will face a fan favorite chef selected Friday by Facebook voters. The second round will occur May 13 and 14 before the last challenges take place on May 22 and 23.

Looking to participate in the Golden Knives Challenge’s upcoming evenings? To reserve your ticket, call 914-747-0519 or email

Katie Schlientz will be tweeting live from the Golden Knives Challenge next week. To get a sneak peek at menus, follow her @KatieSchlientz, #goldenkniveschallenge. For more event photos, visit


About Author creator Katie Schlientz started her love affair with food after she cooked her first dinner for her family. On the menu? Straight out of the box mac 'n cheese. While her cooking skills and palate have certainly matured since then, she still loves watching people experience good food. To join the Westchester #foodienation, visit

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