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Renteria dishes ceviche with Top Chef star

White Sox infielder Saladino plays judge at SoxFest cook-off
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHIGAGO -- The great SoxFest 2017 ceviche cook-off between White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Chicago Top Chef contestant and culinary expert Carlos Gaytan officially was won by ... nobody?

The three judges, made up of a chef from the Hilton Chicago, a chef from Guaranteed Rate Field and White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino, gave the slight edge to Renteria. But Renteria gave his nod to Gaytan after tasting both, admitting he might have had a home SoxFest advantage.

CHIGAGO -- The great SoxFest 2017 ceviche cook-off between White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Chicago Top Chef contestant and culinary expert Carlos Gaytan officially was won by ... nobody?

The three judges, made up of a chef from the Hilton Chicago, a chef from Guaranteed Rate Field and White Sox infielder Tyler Saladino, gave the slight edge to Renteria. But Renteria gave his nod to Gaytan after tasting both, admitting he might have had a home SoxFest advantage.

"I thought it was good," a smiling Renteria said of his ceviche. "You guys should have tasted the yellow tail, the sauce [Gaytan] made. I cheated: I boiled the fish and I boiled the shrimp and I had a little fake imitation crab meat and even used over-the-counter sauce.

"His stuff was excellent. And these guys were very nice. Good sports."

Saladino, ever the baseball diplomat, gave Gaytan's dish five stars out of five after the 30-minute cooking competition was completed Sunday at the Hilton. When asked how many stars Renteria's dish should receive, Saladino asked if he could award it 10.

Tweet from @whitesox: .@SaladinoTyler, culinary expert and judge: "I'm looking for someone who goes outside his comfort zone." #FutureIronChefJudge #soxfest2017 pic.twitter.com/hb8zgiQHC7

Renteria started SoxFest activities by making queso fundido Wednesday with culinary students and the baseball team at Benito Juarez Community Academy in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. He also enjoyed interacting with the fans and their embracing of the organization's rebuild.

"Everybody is excited. I'm excited. I thought the fans were very welcoming," Renteria said. "[General manager] Rick [Hahn] did a really nice job of kind of articulating the direction of the organization throughout the whole fest.

"That makes it easy for everybody involved in the process. I know everybody wants us to go out and try to compete on a daily basis, which is what we are going to try to do. We aren't going to stop that. All and all, everybody had a great time at the fest."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago White Sox, Tyler Saladino