Mix It Up: The M Street Mixer (Mixology & Appetizer Competition)

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius.

This past weekend employees from M Street’s six concepts gathered together to share their creativity at the M Street Mixer Competition. With weeks of experimentation and preparation, each restaurant's team delivered incredible appetizers and cocktails that wowed the crowd of over 300 attendees.

Each concept assembled two teams, a chef team and a bartender team. In a “chopped”-inspired challenge, the chef teams were tasked with creating two appetizers, one using pork loin and the other using tofu. The bartender teams were challenged to think outside the box to craft two drinks, one with Mezcal and the other with a liquor of their choice.

Virago’s Chef Chloe and Chef Andrew took inspiration from Middle-Eastern cuisine to invent their "Persian Grilled Pork Loin with Cucumber Labna", which won the “Best Pork Loin Appetizer" category. For their tofu dish, the pair settled for something on the sweet side, offering the "Whipped Tofu with Yuzu and Blackberry in a Lace Cookie Shell" dessert.

Four talented bartenders from Virago, Cathy, Michael, Lauren, and Catherine, joined forces to mix two deliciously innovative cocktails. The "Toasted Tulip" was a Mezcal, yuzu, blueberry, and sage concoction, while the "Rhubarbara Ann" was a lavender, grapefruit, and rhubarb mix.

Whiskey Kitchen’s Chef Daniel and Chef Shane offered a fresh, summer "Blackberry BBQ Pork Loin". Chef Daniel’s life as a vegan helped him craft an amazing "Bourbon Peach Tofu Cheesecake".

Levi and Kenneth, two incredibly talented and hilarious bartenders from Whiskey Kitchen, put their minds together to create both the "Siesta en Nola", a savory Mezcal cocktail, as well as the "Plum Punctual".

Moto’s Chef Luke developed perfectly flavorful "Bahn Mi Focaccia Sliders". He paired with one of Moto's managers, Tristan, to prepare the crispy and delightful "Spinach Tofu Ravioli".

Christina, a Moto bartender, mixed a refreshing Mezcal cocktail, the "Anguria Shrubbed Granita", that conveyed hints of watermelon, sage, blackberry, lime, mint, and honey. Rayce, another one of Moto's talented bar staff, took home the "Best Cocktail" prize with his "Pimm’s Revenge" concoction, a mix of Pimm's, gin, lemon, rosemary, orange, strawberry, cucumber, cilantro, ginger ale, and Moretti.

Kayne Prime’s Sous Chef Steven put a new spin on the classic French doughnut with his "BBQ Pork Loin Beignet", winning him the title of the “Crowd Favorite Appetizer”. He embraced the summertime peach craze with his tofu "Peaches and Cream" dish.

David from Kayne Prime won 2nd place for “Best in Show” with his hypnotizing "Morning Smoke" drink. Created with Mezcal, banana syrup, coffee, and egg whites, this cocktail provided a flavorful kick. Kayne's bartenders Ben and Brian also crafted the "18th Century Dandy" cocktail with refreshing ingredients of honeydew and lime.

Tavern’s Sous Chef Michael prepared a perfectly sweet and savory "Braised Pork Loin with Watermelon Salad" as well as "Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls with Smoked Honey Sriracha". The spring rolls took the cake for “Best Tofu Appetizer” and 3rd place for “Best in Show”.

Lacey and Wes from Tavern joined forces to craft two memorable cocktails. The first, "Fire and Ice", won both “Best Mezcal Cocktail” and “Best in Show.” This grand-prize-winning cocktail was a mix of spicy Mezcal and refreshing mango puree. Their second cocktail, "The Carpenter", embodied hints of earl grey and black walnut.

Chef Travis from Saint Anejo embraced the Mezcal trend with his "Ancho Rub Mezcal Braised Pork Loin". He drew influence from Saint’s famously delicious tacos with his "Grilled Tofu Taco".

With faces adorned in sugar skull make-up, Linnea, Monica, Nikki, and Calum represented Saint Anejo while serving the blood orange and sweet vermouth infused "Hielo Humado". Linnea was awarded with the “Crowd Favorite Cocktail” prize for her "Blue Night" creation, a blueberry-themed cocktail.

The M Street family's bond always shines brightly through at events like this. From motivating each other to create unique cocktails and inspired dishes to congratulating one another on their awards, there was an undeniable air of gratitude and happiness at The M Street Mixer Competition this year.