A monthly contest between friends pitting cook against cook in their home kitchens to make the best out of the pre-selected ingredient, culminating in a dinner party held the last saturday of every month.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Results!

March 31st 2007:
Ingredient of this month-Chicken

The Trophy
The dinner party/judging phase of the first Iron Cook:Potluck Edition
got kicked off Saturday night (March 31st).
As the contestants rolled in one by one I noticed a sense of support and co-operation for those that still had finishing touches to make from the others that were done setting up.
I also noticed that the small audience seemed very anxious to taste the foods that were making the 'stadium' smell so nice.

A panel of three judges (from L to R: Rebbecca, Steve, Joe) presided over
the contest and used 4 criteria that were selected by the panel and myself.

These criteria were decided upon at the last minute, as this is the first time the contest has occurred, these criteria will be streamlined and perfected as time goes on.

The Contestants:


Josh prides himself of being a lover of food and more importantly spice, the constant search
and exploration of spicy foods drives him to the ends of the internet.
His almost encyclopedic knowledge of different types
of spices that kick is quite impressive.
His entry was named, I believe to showcase what was in store for the judges and those souls brave enough to dig in.
For those of us who did, the payoff was excellent.

Josh's Entry:
Banzai Del Fuego
Banzai Del Fuego was very basically a roasted chicken stuffed with diced onion and pablano peppers with a special dry rub spice mix that Josh has been developing for many years and uses in quite a few of his recipes at home on an almost daily basis.
The top had cilantro and sesame seeds and the spices added a color that I have only seen in Chinese cuisine, and the flavor was in between Chinese and Mexican, thus causing Josh to coin 'Chex-Mex' as a description for his tastes.


Leslie, also a lover of food and from what I hear a singer.
A woman with a million irons in the fire.
According to her myspace page: knows many languages,
and likes archery.
I was told she was someone who appreciated cooking and now I know this to be true.

Leslie's Entry:
Chicken Soto

The Chicken Soto as prepared by Leslie consisted of soba (rice) noodles, chicken broth (held in the airpot), cabbage slices, bean sprouts, boiled egg slices mixed with cooked pieces of chicken, and various other optional toppings to the basic soup which she allowed us to piece together our selves according to personal taste. It is a variation on an Indonesian recipe.


Sarah, a Chicago native, has adapted to 'southern' cooking rather easily in the 6 years she has been here in Texas.
Having graduated from the Culinary Arts Academy in Austin, and fearlessly jumping head long into all
things battered, fried and gravy-ed has developed her own recipe for cream gravy, and almost come to understand the appeal of sweet iced tea.

Sarah's Entry:
Chicken Fried Hand Grenades

Don't let the name fool you, no actual hand grenades were harmed in the making of this dish.
What we have here is an Anaheim pepper stuffed with cubed chicken and pepper jack cheese, once stuffed, the pepper was breaded with a mixture using corn flakes, then deep fried.


Amanda is a college student, and author who is constantly looking into ways to incorporate the old and traditional to the new and fun.
Reads voraciously and is a self proclaimed 'foodie'.

Amanda's Entry:
Saucy Chicken Pasties.
The pasty, a traditionally Cornish dish, is renewed in this variation involving chicken, potatoes, carrots and peas. A flaky, buttery shell is used to contain the filling.

The Judging:
The judges tucked in to plate filled with all four entries and began their quiet contemplations, making notes and even asking for seconds on a couple of entries.
All the while the small audience, also enjoying the fruits of the contestants labors, not so quietly calling out their opinions.
All the contestants, in between bites, got to give rundowns
of the ingredients involved, as well as answer
any questions the judges may have had.
Once all the plates were bare, and the conversation
between the audience
and the contestants had really picked up, the judges excused themselves to deliberate.

The Final Outcome:

The small audience, full and happy, filed out onto the
patio area to get a good seat for the
announcing of who the winner would be.

Then the tired and anxious cooks were brought out and made comfortable for the judges and audience to see and snap photos of.

Ultimately the judges had a hard time deciding the best overall, the entries were all so obviously fretted over, made with care and consideration, and each had its strong points.

For overall flavor Josh was man of the hour.

For Accessibility Amanda's dish won out.

For traditionality Sarah won out.

For originality Leslie was tops.

The big winner for the night was Sarah with Chicken Fried Hand Grenades!

All the contestants and audience were told the next ingredient at the end of the competition.
I hope to see you all this next month for Iron Cook: Potluck Edition!

'The Chairman'

1 comment:

Chris said...

Damn! This looks like so much fun!! And the trophy was kick-ass.