Miami is sizzling hot right about now and, no, we are not talking about the weather. It's because of Miami New Times' Iron Fork. Presented by the Downtown Development Authority, Iron Fork also happens to be the official kickoff to Miami Spice. On August 1, the Adrienne Arsht Center will transform into Miami's culinary center, where our best restaurants will offer tastes for your dining pleasure.
But as you might already know, Iron Fork is also an awesome cooking competition in which two of Miami's most accomplished chefs take the stage to battle with knives, searing flames, and raw meat. In an arena such as this one, there can be only one winner.
Yesterday, the 2012 Iron Fork champion, Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar, gave this year's opponents, Jamie DeRosa of Tongue & Cheek and Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House, some sage wisdom. Now, it's time to hear from DeRosa and Rapicavoli. We spoke with the cocky chefs to find out how they're preparing and what they think of the impending competition. What we got was a two-man stand-up routine with plenty of trash talking. If the competition is as funny as their interview, this year's Iron Fork will be epic.
New Times: What does winning Iron Fork mean to you?
Giorgio Rapicavoli: It'd be dope to represent for the crew back at Eating House. They bust their asses for us, so it's nice to come home with something to put on the walls. We're really proud of what we've accomplished on our own, so I have to go out there and win this for the team.
Jamie DeRosa: It's a great event for the community and a fun event to be participating in. Giorgio is a past contest winner, but this ain't Chopped. Unfortunately for him, his luck is about to run out.
How have you been training for this event?
Rapicavoli: Listening to lots of "Eye of the Tiger" and punching the short ribs in the walk-in.
DeRosa: Yes, we have instituted a Tongue & Cheek CrossFit camp. But I'm still waiting for everyone to tell me what time the classes begin.
Do you have any tricks up your sleeve?
Rapicavoli: Sure do: my sous-chef Adriana. She's like the other half of my brain. One ferocious little five-foot lady with a bark that will make a grown man cry. Trust.
DeRosa: Yes, a few. I do a great one with a fedora, a naked girl, and two rabbits.
What is the one mystery ingredient you hope isn't in your basket? What's the one ingredient you're hoping will show up?
Rapicavoli: Yellow mustard -- I'd bug out! Hate the stuff. What I would like to see is some type of vegetable in the basket. I've been into serving charred and raw vegetables together lately.
DeRosa: Tuna jerky and tripe would be horrible, but I'm praying for Cap'n Crunch cereal. I'll show you some killer pancakes!
How do you feel about the matchup?
Rapicavoli: Should be a good one! He and I have some things in common, so it's bound to make for an interesting competition... as long as he can keep from tweeting during the cook-off.
DeRosa: "Kill or be killed/Sin or be blessed/Bite of the hand/Taste of the flesh." -- Van Morrison
You've both been known to use molecular gastronomy -- and wear funky sneakers. What's up with that?
Rapicavoli: There it is! The ubiquitous M-word. I think we use the word more as a joke than we do to really describe what we do at the restaurant. I love modern cooking techniques, but we try to use them to enhance a dish rather than to be the focus of it. Now, when it comes to sneakers, that's a straight-up obsession. I've loved kicks for a long time, and fortunately for me, my parents always made sure I was dressed fresh as a kid. I like to wear a different pair every day, and I usually put the pair I wore for the day on our wine wall for decoration during service.
DeRosa: Shoes and socks say a lot about someone's personality. As far as the molecular gastronomy, I'm not even sure what that term means. It' s not anything we (chefs) use in the kitchen as a language. It's not something you say when looking for a place to dine. "Hey, do you want Italian tonight or molecular gastronomy? I think there's certainly a place for molecular gastronomy in some restaurants; by and large, it's better as a technique and tool more than an overall cooking style. Making great-tasting food is why I'm here.
If I were to bet $1,000 on one of you to win, who would it be and why?
Rapicavoli: That would be me. No doubt. I won one of these with ten grand on the line on national television. I think I can handle a little one-on-one.
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DeRosa: I guess it's up to the judges. Gift baskets are being delivered this week to Timon [Balloo] and Danny [Serfer].
DeRosa and Rapicavoli will duke it out at Iron Fork August 1 at 7 p.m. at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Tickets cost $40 until July 31 for general admission and $75 for VIP, but use promo code 'Knife" and take ten bucks off a GA ticket. Trust us -- you do not want to miss this evening of food and entertainment.