Portland's 10th Annual Iron ChefView Slideshow »
During this year's Iron Chef Competition in Portland, the Kridel Grand Ballroom of the Portland Art Museum was transformed into a frenetic culinary battleground as two of Portland's celebrated chefs squared off against each other in front of over 370 guests.
Adam Sappington of The Country Cat DinnerHouse & Bar and Chris Thompson of iorio Restaurant each had 45 minutes to create and cook a dish on the spot to impress a panel of distinguished guest judges from a smorgasbord of the industry's most respected foodies. In addition to a pantry of staple ingredients, Sappington and Thompson had to incorporate three "secret ingredients": Guinness draught beer, seasonal cherries and Greek yogurt. I guess that's why they call it a challenge! (What would you make with these ingredients? Comment below.)
The Children's Relief Nursery, which has been hosting Portland's annual Iron Chef competition for the past 10 years, gathered a distinguished pannel of guest judges from the Portland food scene including Erin DeJesus, editor of pdx.eater.com; Jenn Louis, chef and owner of Lincoln Restaurant, Sunshine Tavern and Culinary Artistry, and a 2011 James Beard Award finalist; Naomi Pomeroy, chef and owner of Beast; and Carrie Welch, president of Little Green Pickle and former vice president of public relations at the Food Network.
Flavia Arsenault, director of development for the Children's Relief Nursery, explains that this cooking competition is a fitting fundraiser for their organization.
"Over a decade ago a group of women sat around a table eating and thinking about how to keep the children of this community safe and out of the justice system... [Now] our biggest means of support comes from an evening where our supporters come around a table in support of these goals."
Chris Thompson of iorio didn't take the crown this year, but he says it was good to be out on stage doing what he does best.
"It's fun to be able to go out on a stage and have someone say, 'You need to cook!' It was two guys out there on a stage, doing what we do. We're chefs and that's where we feel comfortable."
What Would You Make?
What dish would you cook with the three secret ingredients: Guinness daught beer, seasonal cherries and Greek yogurt? Comment below.
Adam Sappington defended his title for the third year in a row with a dish of pan-seared salmon with green bean salad drizzled in lemon yogurt dressing.
"This is my fourth year competing in the competition, my third year winning, and it's always a fun experience," says Sappington. "But it's really all about the charity — it's all about the $235,000 we were able to raise for a really good cause." Sappington is excited to defend his Iron Chef crown next year, when he faces off against Adam Higgs, chef and owner of Acadia Restaurant in NE Portland.