Keep New Times Free

Todd Erickson Claims Victory at New Times' Iron Fork Competition

There was tension in the air at the Hyatt Regency Miami as two chef/warriors prepared for battle. Everything was in place.

See also: Iron Fork 2014: The Sounds, the Sights, and the Bites

Judges Timon Balloo (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill), Adrianne Calvo (Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar), and Jamie DeRosa (Tongue & Cheek) were settled in at their table as MC extraordinaire Chef Allen Susser announced the rules.

Chefs Aaron "Thunder From Down Undah" Brooks, assisted by chef Jose Gamez, made up team Edge Steak & Bar, and Todd "Top Shelf" Erickson, assisted by Michelle Saavedra, comprised team Haven and Huahua's Taqueria.

Each team would have 15 minutes to make a "Miami snack" using a mystery ingredient per round. Judges would vote and the "best out of three" would win the coveted Iron Fork Skillet of Excellence and bragging rights for a year.

The first mystery item was revealed to be smoked salmon and the timer started. Immediately, both chefs set into action, incorporating the salmon into their on-the-fly dishes.

The winner for round one was Aaron Brooks' smoked salmon and manchego melt, accompanied by house-made chips and dip.

Judge Adrienne Calvo suggested a nice cocktail (perhaps made with some of the Botran rum the judges were enjoying) for the second mystery ingredient -- clementines.

Although chef Aaron Brooks' seafood dish of clams, bay scallops, and shrimp in coconut milk with a clementine chimichurri looked fantastic, it was Erickson's shrimp and chorizo skewers, lathered in his own version of a citrus marinade that won this round.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

The tie breaking third round challenged both chefs with breadfruit. Although a staple food in many parts of the world, it usually takes way more than 15 minutes to cook properly. Although chef Aaron Brooks' creamed breadfruit with banana and sesame looked delightful, it was Todd Erickson's take on a South Florida caramelized fruit salad with the mystery ingredient, plaintains, ginger, and pistachios the won the round -- and the competition.

As Chef Erickson was presented with the Iron Fork Skillet of Excellence, he thanked his formidable opponent, noting that they had faced off against each other in multiple competitions and it felt good to finally win. Congratulations to both chefs for a wonderful competition.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

Follow Short Order on Facebook, Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.