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FoodE’s Chicken & Waffles. Photo by Aaron Spicer. Used with permission.

By Susan Larson

FoodE has made it into the finals of the 2015 Virginia Tourism Board’s Culinary Madness Challenge. The restaurant’s Chicken & Waffles faces an Apple, Brie and Bacon Burger by Chef Eugene Hudders of The Horseshoe Restaurant in South Hill, Va.

Championship voting is online Tuesday, March 31, through Monday, April 6. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 7.

Joy Crump, co-owner with Beth Black and also executive chef, designed the signature brunch item using influences from the South and utilizing purveyors from the state. The dish consists of a buttermilk fried chicken breast served over a golden house-made waffle topped with whipped maple butter and warm Virginia maple syrup.

The popular downtown Fredericksburg restaurant sources 90 percent of the food served from the local farms and merchants.

Similar to the NCAA basketball tournament bracket, the Virginia Culinary Madness Challenge started with 100 dishes narrowed to 32 by a committee from the Virginia Tourism Department. Dishes were challenged against each other on the website, and online voters chose their favorite. The votes were tallied, and the winners were chosen to move forward to the round of 16, eight, four and now the final two.

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