At last evening's New Times Iron Fork competition at the American Airlines Arena, four chefs battled for the coveted Skillet of Excellence in a battle of fire, knives, and skill. In the end, the Dynamic Duo of Dustin Ward (BLT Prime) and Sean Brasel (Meat Market) claimed victory.
The main event pitted Ward and Brasel against "Wonder Twins" Fabrizio and Nicola Carro of Via Verdi. Chef Allen Susser presided over the judged competition, presenting the rules of this battle royal: Each team was tasked with making three dishes using several mystery ingredients, including blue cheese, Wagyu beef, and applewood-smoked bacon. Each team had 15 minutes for each of the first two dishes. The third dish could be started during the beginning of the competition, giving 45 minutes total for that final preparation.
Judges Adrianne Calvo (Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar), Justin Flit (Proof Pizza & Pasta), Jim Parsons (Rusty Pelican), and Dewey LoSasso (Redlander Restaurant) were tasked to taste each dish, rating them for use of the mystery item, appearance, creativity, and flavor.
The chef judges took the work seriously, each one taking time to analyze the dishes in front of them.
Chef Allen quipped that the Carro brothers had a clear advantage because they've been cooking together since birth. Clearly, they had some kind of twin ESP going on because they anticipated each other's moves with grace.
Though this was the first time Brasel and Ward cooked together, you'd never know it by their seamless culinary skills behind the burner. In the end, their cooking proved to be superior, securing the win for the steakhouse-centric team.
Congratulations were in order for the Dynamic Duo, living up to the team's name.
Iron Fork is also the official kickoff of Miami Spice, which begins this Monday, August 1. The two-month promotion features the city's finest restaurants offering prix-fixe lunches and dinners for the reduced price of $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner. For savvy diners wanting a taste of things to come, many Spice restaurants offered some of their best bites at Iron Fork. Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley presented a dish from Zest, which will participate in Spice.
Lure Fishbar's John Iatrellis's hamachi crudo was one of the tastiest dishes presented. The restaurant is also participating in the promotion. More than 200 restaurants will participate in this year's Miami Spice, making this one of the biggest and best years to be a culinary adventurer in Miami.
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