October 19, 2012 | 8:07am
Thousands of hungry and thirsty people converged upon Grand Central Miami
last evening to eat, drink and be merry at New Times' fifth annual Iron Fork
. Over three dozen of Miami's hottest restaurants served up some fine eats while a host of open bars attended to the liquid needs of party goers with cool refreshing beverages.
Phillip Bryant on Getting Ready for Battle
As the sun set on the indoor/outdoor event, the evening started to heat up with two fierce Iron Fork competitions, hosted by chef Allen Susser.
Both events were judged by a trio of formidable and experienced chefs -- Michael Gilligan, executive chef at the Rusty Pelican; Sean Brasel, executive chef at Meat Market; and Janna Wardle, pastry chef at BLT Steak, who were tasked with the job of eating and critiquing the chefs' dishes.
Each chef had 30 minutes to make five servings each of three different dishes. Chefs were provided with a decked out kitchen space, an extensive pantry from which they could use any item, and a mystery ingredient that must be used in each dish. For the Iron Fork chefs, the mystery ingredient was bacon. The food truckers were assigned butter.
The competition was fast and furious, with each chef completing some pretty decadent dishes in the short time allotted. After careful deliberation, winners were chosen.
chef/owner Robyn Almodovar took the food truck win from Mr. Good Stuff
chef/owner Alfredo Montero. The chefs were tasked with making three different sliders for the judges, and Amodovar's upscale "open faced" sliders (and liberal use of butter) tipped the scales in her favor.
Bradley Kilgore, new partner at both Route 9
and Exit 1
, dishes out indulgent foie gras wraps.
Aaron Taylor presents braised beef cheeks on a bed of horseradish mashed potatoes.
Chef Ze Carlos Jimenez of The MexZican Gourmet
, serves pork and shrimp tacos, along with an array of housemade salsas.
Mr. Good Stuff's Alfredo Montero and wife Vanessa prepare for battle with a few cocktails.
Blue Collar's Danny Serfer and sous chef Eric Serebrenik have a little outdoor strategy session before the competition.
Rusty Pelican's Michael Gilligan grabs a Guinness Black before heading to the judges' table.
You can't fight City Hall's
spicy shrimp and grits -- especially when Steven Haas is dishing it out.
Robyn Almodovar and wife Faiza serve truffle mac 'n cheese and crab cakes to the crowd.
executive chef Brendan Connor's fritters from the restaurant's popular shrimp and grits dish.
Mark Grigsby presents us with a roast beef slider.