Baton Rouge area calendar for Jan. 8-14, 2016 _lowres

Photo provided by MATT REED -- Chef Matt Reed

At last year’s Baton Rouge Epicurean Society’s Fête Rouge and this year’s CrawFête, chef Matt Reed pulled off the hat trick.

Reed’s dessert duo took home best in show and best dessert at the former event. The dessert was called Twins’ Duet in honor of his then yet-to-be-born twin son and daughter. The dish included a boy’s side of “feaux or-e-aux,” or homemade Oreo, with a scoop of Guinness vanilla ice cream. The girl’s side was a strawberry shortbread cookie with a Chambord and mayhaw jelly milkshake.

At CrawFête, Reed’s crawfish honey bun took home first place.

Reed will look to defend his titles in the chef’s competition Friday night at Fête Rouge at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge. Reed talked about the challenges of cooking for the event for this new Red feature.

Do you have any nerves going into this year’s competition?

“No, not really. I think I have a dish that can compete and be a winner. Would I like to win again? Absolutely. But, as far as expectations go, if we have a good showing, I’ll feel good about it.”

You’re pretty competitive about this event, aren’t you?

“Oh, I do get ramped up for these competitions. I know all of the chefs. It’s a lot of good, healthy competition. I love setting up shop early and seeing everyone come in. We all hang out together for a little bit then get to it.”

How do you prepare for these types of events?

“For something like this, I want to prepare something that’s a challenge for me. I come up with something that’s kind of locked in my head, and I can’t shake the idea of it. I just try and build something on that.”

Why go for the challenging dish?

“When else do you get to do it? [For my catering company,] there are plenty of menus I have designed from the ground up. I’ll put new spins on dishes weekly. When I’m cooking for a client, I never go completely into a realm I’m unfamiliar with. Here, we can be a little more experimental.”

But isn’t there a level of added pressure when competing?

“Yeah, because I’m trying to maintain a level of consistency. That’s where it gets difficult for my profession. A party for 50 will always have better food compared to one with 500 people. Food doesn’t work exponentially all the time.”

What does winning an event like this mean to you?

“It’s nice to have the validation. To be able to win tells me I have the kind of cooking that people want to eat. You just don’t get that everywhere.”

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.