Iron Fork

Iron Fork 2017: JWU Students to Compete for Michael Shikany Memorial Award

Lyanette Vega-Matos and Brianna Long will compete in Iron Fork's Student Showdown.
Lyanette Vega-Matos and Brianna Long will compete in Iron Fork's Student Showdown. Photo by Laine Doss
New Times' Iron Fork will celebrate its tenth anniversary Thursday, October 5, at the Hyatt Regency Miami with an evening of delicious food from favorite local restaurants, a showdown between two of the city's best chefs, and a new competition.

This year, two student chefs from Johnson & Wales University will compete in Iron Fork's Student Showdown for the Michael Shikany Knife of Excellence, an award and scholarship in memory of one of Miami's most innovative and promising toques.

Brianna Long and Lyanette Vega-Matos will compete on Iron Fork's culinary stage after winning a competition at their school's campus last week. In the competition, Long and Vega-Matos, along with fellow students Pablo Mendez and Ariel Pallares, were challenged to make a dish using a basket of mystery ingredients that included chicken feet, gummy bears, tamarind, and phyllo dough. JWU faculty members Chris Wagner, Jeremy Houghton, and Genny Komar served as judges. Long took the top spot, and Vega-Matos came in a close second.
click to enlarge Brianna Long and Lyanette Vega-Matos - PHOTO BY LAINE DOSS
Brianna Long and Lyanette Vega-Matos
Photo by Laine Doss
The winner of the Student Showdown will receive the Shikany scholarship to help cover college expenses. Chef Ryan Martin of 180 Degrees at the DRB has set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $5,000 to raise money for the scholarship. Says Martin: "This is a tradition we hope to keep for many years to come and to grow it as we move forward." To donate, visit

In addition to presenting the Student Showdown, Iron Fork will host its annual chef battle. This year, Beaker & Gray's Brian Nasajon will take on Tacology's Santiago Gomez in a competition MC'ed by veteran chef Allen Susser.

From 7 to 10 p.m., enjoy bites from dozens of restaurants, including 180 Degrees @ the DRB, Sushi Sake, JWB Prime Steak & Seafood, Brain Freeze Nitrogen Ice Cream, Grill Argentino, Philly Grub, Dashi, Meat Market, Tacology, the Rusty Pelican, Jack’s Miami, Organic Bites, the Venue at South Beach, Amour de Miami, the Brick, Toro Toro, Soyka, Texas de Brazil, Sensory Delights, Kaori by Walter Martino, Cibo Wine Bar, Wine Date, Caja Caliente, Dr. Limon Ceviche Bar, RA Sushi, Morton's the Steakhouse, Atlantikos, Jackson Soul Food, and 320 Gastrolounge. A cash bar will serve Estrella Damm beers and Voga Italia wines.

Iron Fork benefits the Miami Rescue Mission through a silent auction and raffle. All auction proceeds will go directly to efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys. In addition, the Mission will also collect all unused food at the end of the evening to feed locals in need of meals.

Take advantage of a special Iron Fork flash sale where general-admission tickets cost only $30 each now through September 30 at 10 p.m. Tickets are limited and will sell out quickly. 

VIP tickets cost $80 each through October 4, but take advantage of the VIP Foodie Four Pack for $240 and you'll get one free VIP admission. VIP ticketholders will get into the event one hour earlier, at 6 p.m., and have access to a special lounge with complimentary drinks from Estrella Damm, Voga Italia, and Barton & Guestier, along with exclusive food from BLT Steak, BLT Prime, River Yacht Club, and Glass & Vine. On October 5, VIP tickets will cost $90 at the door if they're not sold out. Tickets for this 21-and-older event are on sale now at

New Times' Iron Fork. 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, October 5, at Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami; 305-358-1234; Tickets cost $50 to $80 via Donate to the Michael Shikany scholarship at
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss