Harris, who became executive chef at the iconic Royal Hawaiian in February, said he was ready to put himself to the test in the contest, especially when the secret ingredient — cinnamon — was announced.
"I don't much like to cook with cinnamon, so it was not easy" to incorporate the spice into his planned menu, Harris said.
But he did it with so much success that his cinnamon-scented wheat and mango bread pudding ended up being the highest vote-getter of the evening, and it may have just put him over the top in the competition.
Harris' winning menu consisted of an "amuse bouche" of a mai tai with cinnamon-infused spiced rum. The first course was wild mushroom bruschetta with a variety mushrooms, thyme and pecorino. The second course was New Caledonian blue prawns with a togarashi rub and pickled vegetables with a ponzu sauce. The bread pudding was the dessert.
The secret, to the bread pudding's success, he said, was the use of overripe mangoes, which were cooked in the pudding as well as placed outside of it.
Harris is climbing the ranks of chefdom. His last job was as sous chef at French 75, after he got his chef's hat at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and worked at various restaurants for several years. At Royal Hawaiian, he is credited with revamping the restaurant's menu.
Harris is no stranger to cooking contests. He recently entered the "I Love Poke" Festival, taking second place against many talented Orange County chefs, according to press materials from Sunday Night Chef Fights.
Now he's enjoying the view of his trophy on the bar at Royal Hawaiian, where it will remain until at least Nov. 6, when the next Sunday Night Chef Fights take place.
"I have to keep it," he said.
For information about the next food fight, visit sundaynightcheffights.com.