Iron Fork 2014: Aaron Brooks and Todd Erickson Talk Strategy

On Thursday, July 31, chef Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar) will face off against chef Todd Erickson (Huahua's Taqueria and Haven) at New Times' Iron Fork/Miami Spice kickoff, presented by the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

It all goes down at the Hyatt Regency Miami, where the two toques will battle in front of thousands of fans, with three distinguished judges watching every move they make. Timon Balloo (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill), Jamie DeRosa (Tongue & Cheek), and Adrianne Calvo (Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar) will be the official taste-testers for the event, with chef Allen Susser getting the contestants motivated with his MC stylings.

See also: Iron Fork 2014: Aaron Brooks vs. Todd Erickson

Unlike Fight Club, Iron Fork has rules, and Aaron "Thunder From Down Under" Brooks and Todd "Top Shelf" Erickson must abide by them:

"Each chef will be supplied with a basket of groceries plus one secret ingredient and challenged to create three unique, mouthwatering dishes, one every 15 minutes. The chef with the two best dishes will be crowned the 2014 Iron Fork Winner."

We caught up with the two chefs, who took time out from their grueling training schedule to share their strategies and thoughts on their opponent.

New Times: What would your dream secret ingredient be, and why?

Aaron Brooks: I'm pretty open to whatever is in the box. I do enjoy a challenge, so I'll go with whatever is planned. I would, however, love to see some cool veggies in there.

Todd Erickson: I am sooooooo not sharing that information!

If you could sneak in and place any secret ingredient in your opponent's basket, what would it be, and why?

Brooks: Vegemite or kangaroo, because it would give me a down-under advantage.

Erickson: From everything that I've had the privilege of trying by chef Aaron Brooks, I'm pretty sure it would take a lot to throw him for a loop. The man has solid skills. If anything, oxtail might be a good one, because it takes so long to cook.