Iron Chef Cedar Rapids just keeps getting better.
In its second year, organizers added new features, including a Really Big TV broadcasting a live feed from cameras circulating around the kitchen, live music, and a chance for attendees to win the opportunity to be an honorary judge and sample each of the contestants’ offerings.
This year’s competitors were chef teams from Daniel Arthur’s, Vino’s Ristorante, Zins and a student team from Kirkwood Community College’s culinary arts program. Their secret ingredient: White chocolate.
I gotta tell you, as a judge, I was a little nervous when the secret ingredient was revealed. I’m not a big fan of white chocolate. And I had a hard time envisioning how a chef could successfully incorporate it into a pork entree. I had no idea what to expect.
Of course, the chef teams at Iron Chef are full of culinary creativity and talent and produced four outstanding dishes. They were (in the order they were presented):
Teams were judged on taste, presentation and creative use of the secret ingredient. There was also one judge in the kitchen who scored the teams on criteria like how clean they kept their workstations and watched to make sure there were no infractions of the rules.
The winner, by one point, was the student team from Kirkwood Community College – Eric Ehler and Laura Olive – who were, of course, euphoric about their victory over professional chefs. Their dish was delicious and the presentation very attractive. A big congrats to both.
Stop by the food page on Tuesday for expanded coverage of Iron Chef Cedar Rapids from Gazette photographer Liz Martin, who’s putting together a multimedia story about the competition.