As promised, it was a great battle at the Adrienne Arsht Center last evening as two of Miami's most talented chefs competed at Miami New Times' Iron Fork and Miami Spice Kickoff, presented by the Downtown Development Authority.
Jamie DeRosa of Tongue & Cheek and Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House were the two culinary gladiators chosen for this foodie duel. Aided by their trusted sous-chefs, Lisa Odom (Tongue & Cheek) and Adriana Egozcue (Eating House), the chefs would have 45 minutes to create two dishes for the judges, Timon Balloo (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill), Sean Brasel (Meat Market), and Daniel Serfer (Blue Collar).
As the chefs prepped for battle, we spoke with the judges to see if they had any insight into what the competition would bring.
"It feels like it's a good matchup, " said Balloo, who added, "If Jamie focuses on the fundamentals, he'll have an edge, although Giorgio might do better in a fast competition." Serfer, the reigning 2012 Iron Fork champion, echoed the sentiment: "It's going to be a close match." Brasel summed it up, saying, "You never know what could happen. If there's a twist, Giorgio might be more qualified to handle it because of his Chopped experience, but I predict it's going to be super-close."
As he quietly prepped his station, Rapicavoli told us that he felt "calm and collected."
DeRosa, on the other hand, came equipped with a fan club -- young daughter Isabella Grace -- who sported a shirt that said, "My daddy cooks better than you." Nuff said.
DeRosa, who armed himself with bottles of Herradura and Pappy Van Winkle 12-Year, told Short Order that his strategy was to "keep it simple," adding, "I feel calm yet anxious."
Host Allen Susser called the chefs to the stage and announced the mystery ingredient that must be used in each dish: crab. The competition was on, with Rapicavoli using lots of butter and duck fat in his dishes, and DeRosa working with fresh-made pasta.
After what seemed like mere seconds, time was up, and each chef served his dishes. Rapicavoli's first dish was a take on a traditional crab roll.
DeRosa presented crab ice cream with mango chutney as his first dish.
Rapicavoli's second dish was a surf-and-turf of dry-rubbed duck and soft-shell crab with burnt bok choy and leeks.
DeRosa's second dish featured scallops and king crab with a carrot-ginger sauce.
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After careful deliberation, the judges chose their winner, and Eating House's team of Rapicavoli/Egozcue was crowned Iron Fork 2013 champion.