You read that right, a whole festival dedicated to chicken tenders and it definitely did not disappoint.
Tenderfest made is triumphant return to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills this past weekend. After a two year hiatus, this perfectly curated chicken tender festival brought in hundreds of obnoxious food influencers and regular folks who were ready to stuff their faces with fried chicken. Tenderfest Pt. 2 had big shoes to fill after the inaugural event back in 2019 and it definitely did not disappoint. How hard a task could that be? Fry up some good chicken, open up the gates and you got yourself a winner.
Off the Menu has a great track record for curating some great food festivals. They hosted a really awesome wing festival in 2018 which brought the originators of the Buffalo Wing, Anchor Bar, to West Hollywood. This year's Tenderfest was no different. The chicken vendors included Dino's Famous Chicken, GoGo Chicken, Daring Food, Willie Mae's, Raising Cane's and Delilah. Like the inaugural event, there was a competition between some of the hottest chefs in LA to create the best chicken tender. Reigning champ Chef Tim Hollingsworth returned to defend his title against Chef Gregorio Stephenson of Nobu, Nyesha Arrington of Next Level Chef and Tway Nguyen of Twaybae. If the all-you-can-eat chicken tenders weren't enough, there were plenty of desserts to satisfy that post friend chicken sweet tooth. We went pretty hard with the chicken so we stuffed our pockets with some great desserts from Gone Bananas, Bougie Bakes, Brique LA and Damandyz Donuts.
Every single thing we ate was absolutely delicious, so we want to give kudos to all of the chefs and servers who braved the heat to present us with great chicken and desserts. With that said, here are a few of our favorite Tenderfest offerings:
Chef Nyesha Arrington had one of our favorite tenders. The tender was fried in waffle batter, drizzled with pure Maple syrup and finished with a generous pinch of Maldon Salt.
Chef Tim Hollingsworth successfully defended his title at this year's Tenderfest with this beautiful tender. The tender had a very delicate breading topped with fried rosemary, truffle honey and an ashed Creme fraiche. It tasted as elegant as it sounds.
Nobu's Chef Gregorio Stephenson was the award for best tender with dressing we could not name. Honestly, were a simple people, we don't really get the chance to hit up a restaurant like Nobu so this little bite sized nugget felt special. Nobu or not, this piece of chicken was absolutely perfect. A delicately breaded tender sitting on a butter lettuce boat and topped with a mysteriously delicious slaw.
First off, the Delilah chicken tender is a bad motherf'er. For those who don't know, Delilah is a very popular bar in Los Angeles with a great art deco vibe, great drinks, beautiful people but the food is the star, specifically the tenders. The extra crunchy tender keeps it very simple. It's a well seasoned and unbelievably juicy chicken tender served with house-made ranch and spicy BBQ sauce. What else could you ask for?
Willie Mae's Scott House served the droves of hunger attendees absolute fried chicken perfection. There was no need to dress it with anything, it didn't come with a dipping sauce, because it didn't have to. The James Beard award winning Willie Mae's has been frying chicken out of New Orleans since 1957. They recently made the expansion to Los Angeles and needless to say, they will definitely be seeing more of us.
This isn't your normal French toast and shouldn't even be considered a breakfast food. Brique LA French Toastery went viral a few years ago because Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson revealed that this was his cheat meal. Check out their Instagram and you'll quickly figure out why they're called Brique. Our stomachs were eternally grateful for the sample sized portion (even though we got in line 3 times before they eventually ran out). The Brioche French toast is topped with their signature syrup, toasted coconut chips and fresh vanilla bean whipped cream.