Just like it goes on TV, when the secret ingredient was revealed at last night's 9th annual Iron Fork competition, all six chefs and their attending sous chefs stormed the table to arm themselves with their edible weapons of choice.
With a half dozen of the biggest names in food going mano a mano at International Market Square, crowds were just as eager to see what curve ball the chefs would be pitched.
Sponsor Ames Honey turned out to be the ingredient in question, with various honeys, honeycomb and bee pollen as arsenal for the chefs to gather, fire up their induction burners, and cook.
• Erick Harcey of Victory 44 • Lucas Almendinger of The Third Bird • Drew Ledo of Sparks • Pat Weber of Art Institutes International • Nick O'Leary of Coup d'Etat • Don Saunders of The Kenwood
Make that victors. For the first time in Iron Fork history, there was a tie for first place. Second place went to Don Saunders of the Kenwood for his delicate honey-citrus panna cotta and lobster salad, but the top chefs of the night were Pat Weber of Art Institutes International and Mise en Place and Nick O'Leary of Coup d'Etat -- whose bartender also took home first place in the Absolut Mixology contest.
Weber served up a butter-poached filet with a mushroom saute, potato puree, honey caramelized rosemary, and pickled onions.
O'Leary turned out a pork tenderloin with ribbons of squash, crispy pancetta, a tiny crepe beggar's purse with squash puree and pancetta, apple sticks, honey comb, and honey-jalapeno pesto.
The best part? This sold-out event raised money for Second Harvest Heartland, the largest hunger relief program in the Upper Midwest.
See you at next year's Iron Fork, Hot Dishers!
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