They Came, They Ate, They Conquered: Iron Chef Pot Luck Fall 2010
Posted October 17, 2010on:
When Louise had her iron chef style pot luck in the spring of this year, I was ecstatic to join! I spent a few days thinking of a dish and a couple more to practice making gnocchi which I’ve never made before. And then, the day of the event, I plundered my way through her kitchen stadium and emerged victorious in the best-reflects-given-adjective category (I will explain the scoring in a bit). I am obviously exaggerating but it sure was intense. There were people making such food as baked whole fish in salt crust, soy glazed tuna ceviche, and homemade pineapple ice cream. They were going all out!
I was super impressed with all the creative dieshes at the party that I have to have an iron chef party of my own in my KITCHEN STADIUM someday. Alright, my kitchen is nothing to shout about but I do have most of the basic tools in the very least. It’s absolutely doable. So I asked a bunch of friends over for a friendly competition, a night with good food, fantastic drinks, and great company.
The format is fairly simple; Participants are assigned a secret ingredient, an adjective describing their food, and a course type. They have carte blanche on how they want to interpret the assigned words as long as they are able to present them in their dishes. They would then bring their dishes to the kitchen stadium to share with the rest of the people. I gave my guests a choice if they so choose to cook in my kitchen and they can borrow my kitchen tools as well.
At the end of the night, everybody will score all participants including themselves based on the honor system with one exception: the hosts will not be competing in order for them to tally the scores fairly. Well, the host will be providing a prize (yes, you heard me right), so that’s another reason for them not to compete. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it keeps the iron chef competition interesting. After all, it’s not the prize that matters. For me, it’s about introducing people to unfamiliar ingredients that they can easily find in the grocery stores and encourage them to cook something different for a change.
I was not disappointed, of course. My guests went all out of their comfort zone and came up with fantastic dishes that are to die for. Let me introduce you the contenders:
Korean Inspired Spinach Pancakes
Secret Ingredient: Spinach
Perkedel Tauhu with Tangy Chutney Two Ways
Secret Ingredient: Tofu
Rum & Ginger Marinated Chicken with Fresh Mango Sauce
Seaweed Wrapped Banana Rice
Chickpea-Walnut Patties and Raspberry Tomato Jam
Marinated Beets Fried Rice
Microwaved Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Decadent Butternut Squash Ice Cream, Warm Pound Cake, Homemade Apple-Sage Syrup
As you can see, like many others, Louise was plating her dessert for some extra points. There are four categories in the scoring: taste, presentation, originality, and the best use of the assigned secret ingredients/adjectives. Many of the guests even brought their very own ceramic dish for plating and the photo shoot. Yes, it was intense indeed.
Alas, we had to choose a winner. Christian and I tallied up the scores and we decided the first and second runner ups would have some consolation prizes as well. Ebony and Rachel’s rosemary dish is the second runner up and they won two little pots with seeds so that they can grow their own herbs. PhikShan, the first runner up, won some paring knives and a herb pot.
The champion, Louise, was nicely rewarded with two $25 gift certificates to Quince in Evanston and Crust Organic Eatery in Wicker Park.
It was very fun night and I can’t wait to host my next iron chef party. Perhaps the next theme would be Christmas? =)