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Presenting the winners of Iron Fork 2019: Under Pressure!

Iron Fork 2019: Under Pressure winners from Hope Breakfast Bar pose with their hard-won award

Iron Fork 2019: Under Pressure winners from Hope Breakfast Bar pose with their hard-won award Darin Kamnetz

Between devilish machines with a mind of their own, mystery ingredients, lotsa booze, and even more revelry, City Pages’ Iron Fork 2019: Under Pressure proved one for the record books.

For those who missed out, last Thursday a roster of talented chefs, all-star mixologists, and a whole host of public admirers came together at the Machine Shop to watch these pros battle it out on stage for fame, glory, and bragging rights. 

And this year, it was all about the pressure cooker. 

While everyone expected the mystery ingredient—mushrooms! whodathunkit!?—would give these chefs a run for their money, no one anticipated the contraptions themselves would contribute to the chaos. Yet, like true veterans in their fields, all persevered to present beef-based dishes so outstanding and varied in flavor and spirit that the evening’s winner proved a surprise to judges and audience alike.

But like all proper dining experiences, we should begin with the drink portion of our evening. 

Bartenders from Pizza Lucé, Al’s Place, Mercy, and Merlin’s Rest swizzled, stirred, and shook their hearts out to see who could come up with the best cocktail utilizing Jim Beam Black. In the end, no one could top Al's Place’s Dee Ricci, whose glitter and penchant for storytelling came to life in her "Corn-Holed Fashioned.” Her Jim Beam Top Mixologist title-winning drink blended smoked corn muscovado sugar with Jim Beam Black and Angostura bitters, and came garnished with a gilded skewer of Jim Beam Black-infused caramel candied-and-roasted baby corn cobs. 

Jim Beam Top Mixologist winner Dee Ricci poses with her glittery grin of victory

Jim Beam Top Mixologist winner Dee Ricci poses with her glittery grin of victory Darin Kamnetz

Back in the solid-food Thunderdome, Hope Breakfast Bar’s chef Brian Ingram emerged victorious, claiming the City Pages Iron Fork 2019 title by way of his Nola Mushroom Hash with Braised Beef and Lobster Mushroom Bisque. Ingram dazzled judges thanks to a delicate contrast between his bisque’s creaminess and a spicy slow build created by roasting jalapenos, finished by an unexpected textural element courtesy of fried herbs.

Truly, a tasty night was had by all. Thank you to all of our attendees, chefs, and bartenders for a great Iron Fork, presented by Coldwell Banker Burnet benefiting Second Harvest Heartland!

Find a slideshow of pics from the evening here, with more coming soon...