Iron Fork

Iron Fork Chef Battle: Danny Serfer Offers Words of Wisdom to Jamie DeRosa, Giorgio Rapicavoli

On Thursday, August 1, people from all over South Florida will gather for one of the best food and drink events ever: Miami New Times' Iron Fork.

If you haven't heard already, this year it's even bigger and better, since we're partnering with Miami Spice for a kickoff party. But while we wait for the affair to take place on August 1, we're focusing on the chefs that are participating in the Iron Fork Chef Battle.

The 2012 winner, Danny Serfer of Blue Collar, offered some words of wisdom for the Iron Fork grasshoppers (née Jamie DeRosa of Tongue & Cheek and Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House).

Here's what Serfer advises:

"You know, it really just helps to be a chef Allen [Susser] alum," says Serfer. DeRosa scores in that department -- he worked under the James Beard award-winning Susser in the late '90s. Will the lack of Susser's love and guidance hurt Rapicavoli?

Likely not. Where DeRosa will probably bring the modernized classics to the table, Rapicavoli is likely to put forward the innovative and crazy.

Both tactics can gain the judges' favor. Best to focus on the obscure. "There is usually an extra secret ingredient that they throw at you," says Serfer. "It's usually non-chalantly lying around somewhere and you have to figure out what it is before it's revealed [which, then, might be too late].

"Quickly figuring out what that is would be useful."

Both DeRosa and Rapicavoli have displayed their chops in cooking battles before, but could an extra secret ingredients separate the boys from the men?

Think for a sec: What would've happened if Ted Allen announced the surprise mandatory use of peanut butter five minutes before the clock ran out on that episode of Chopped? What would have Rapicavoli done?

A similar situation might play out in real-life come game-day.

With that in mind, "you have to be realistic about what you can do in 30 minutes," Serfer adds.

Will they both be able to handle the pressure? Will that be enough to win?

Ultimately, no one can truly say which of the competing chefs has the greater advantage. Both are quick, seasoned, and skilled in their trade.

Maybe they can arrange a buy-off... a little compensation agreement for Serfer's vote?

"Both guys have given me a pair of plating tweezers already, so neither has the bribery edge."

Watch DeRosa and Rapicavoli throw the punches on August 1 at 7 p.m. at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Tickets cost $40 until July 31 for GA and $75 for VIP. The Short Order discount promo code will price GA tickets at $35 until July 31. VIP ticket holders get to take part in the action an hour before GA is admitted inside and enjoy wine, beer, and Bacardi cocktails. You can buy your tickets at

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Alex Rodriguez