A Caesar Salad Hater Eats Caesar Salad

I’m 0 for 2 this week in assignments I’ve made to interns. This time, I send Hannah Boen to cover a preview of the Caesar Salad Competition. Hannah hates Caesar salad. Her report after the jump.

The American Institute of Wine & Food hosted a preview for the 19th annual Caesar Salad Competition last night at the Fairmont. If you’re a big enough fan of romaine and Parmesan, and are interested in seeing 10 chefs go head-to-head with their Caesar recipes, you can catch the real contest October 24 at Union Station.
I’ve had a thing about not eating Caesar salad since middle school when I witnessed the dressing being made aboard a cruise ship. Raw eggs terrify me and the anchovies just kind of made my skin crawl. But within the first five minutes of the event, I had learned the history of Caesar salad, had in my possession 10 competition-worthy recipes for Caesar salad, been handed a heaping plate of Caesar salad and, in turn, was warming up to the idea of eating it. So, for the sake of the event, I did my best to put 7th grade behind me and taste the salad that took last year’s trophy.
And I can say, it tasted…like Caesar salad. I know, very anti-climactic. But it was my first taste of Caesar in almost a decade and it took getting through the first three-quarters of the plate to convince myself I wouldn’t walk away with salmonella.
That being said, the preview event featured only last year’s winner, proving the actual competition will be much more thrilling. The Fairmont’s Pyramid Restaurant took the title last year, and executive sous chef Paul Peddle says he wants another win this year with Pyramid’s new executive chef André Natera.
Peddle seems to think he’s got a good chance of winning again, however, I have my doubts considering only one restaurant, Landmark, has taken the championship twice since 1992.
The level of competition is a little more extreme than I would have originally thought for a salad contest, meaning this year’s Caesar creations will probably be pretty outstanding. I caught a few of the white coats giving death glances, and I wondered if I should remind them that the contest is still three months away.
Let’s say you don’t like Caesar salad, but you like kids. You can still get on board with the event, considering its purpose is to raise funds to support educational programs for DISD students. In addition, proceeds are contributed to the North Texas Food Bank and the Lena Pope Home and to scholarships for culinary students and professionals.
For more information and to see if your favorite chef will be at the event, go here.
Or if you want Caesar salad recipes from 10 awesome local chefs, I may be willing to strike a deal.


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  • Mike

    You left out the part about paying way too much and standing in constant lines to get a tiny rushed taste.

    For the same price I’ll be out having a nice relaxing dinner at one of the places competing.

  • Frenchy

    As far as I’m concerned, Hatties make the only real Caesar’s salad in Dallas!

  • Sous C

    Your “go here” isn’t linking up at this time. Aside from that, please tell us a little bit about today’s Caesar salad – What is it? There is the classic recipe, which almost no restaurant in the city seems able to replicate without changing something for the worse (is anyone making an honest Caesar anywhere in town?). What did you sample last night?

  • Twinwillow

    The “original” Caesar salad recipe as first made on July 4, 1924 by Caesar Cardini (born in 1896 near Lago Maggiori in Italy) in Tijuana, Mexico.
    Note: No anchovies!

    2 Cups white bread Cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    Oil to baste croutons;
    2 cloves garlic 1/4 cup garlic oil

    Garlic Oil (to fry croutons)
    puree 2 cloves garlic,
    Mix with 1/4 teasp. salt and 3 Tbl Olive oil

    2 medium heads of Romaine (Cos) lettuce
    break into leaves

    2 eggs boiled exactly 1 minute
    Large Salad Bowl For tossing
    Black Pepper
    1/4 Cup Olive oil + 2 Teaspoons
    Juice of one lemon
    6 drops of Worcestershire Sauce
    1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese


    Dry bread cubes out in the oven basting with the garlic oil

    Prepare lettuce leaves, wash and place in a bag and chill until ready to serve.

    Place croutons in a medium hot skillet and strain garlic oil over the croutons and toss for a minute to heat and place into a small serving bowl.

    Place the lettuce leaves in the bowl and sprinkle the olive oil over them and scoop in large motions to coat.

    Sprinkle the salt, 8 grinds of pepper, sprinkle on the lemon juice and 6 drops of Worcestershire sauce.

    Break in the eggs, toss again and add the cheese.

    Toss and top with the croutons.

  • Sous C

    Thanks TW; where and when was the last time you had a salad in Dallas that came reasonably close?

  • Twinwillow

    @Sous C: At my house. Same basic recipe except, I have to have the anchovies! I also use a bit of Dijon mustard, too.

    However, I have to agree with “Frenchy” above. My favorite restaurant Caesar salad is also at Hattie’s.

  • Sorry about the link. It’s working now.

  • Lee

    Lots of placing come close, but the problem just about everywhere is too much dressing! I hate being the nag and asking for it on the side because a caesar is nicely tossed, but too often it is drenched and soggy.

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