This past Saturday, Portlanders gathered at the Portland Art Museum for the 2011 Portland Iron Chef competition raising money and awareness for the Children’s Relief Nursery, a fantastic charity that commits to helping children and families in need in the Portland area.
The evening started with a silent auction complete with a food competition. Three rising star chefs – Ryan Bleibtrey from The Original, Adam Higgs from Acadia, and Anthony Cafiero from Tabla – battled it out for the People’s Choice hors d’oeuvres. Guests were asked to judge by secret ballot, with the evening’s winner securing a spot at next year’s Iron Chef competition.
A live auction, sit down dinner and aerial dancers followed the silent auction, along with the evening’s main event, the Iron Chef competition. Reigning champion Adam Sappington of The Country Cat took on challenger (and the winner of the people’s choice award last year) Chris Thompson of Iorio. The top secret ingredients were Greek yogurt, Guinness beer, and cherries, with the chefs tasked to create two dishes in 40 minutes. Both chefs immediately got to the task at hand. Suddenly, all sorts of ingredients were flying around from pork scallopini to salmon to couscous to lettuce and green beans plus all of the secret ingredients in question.
A panel of judges that included chef (and current Top Chef Masters competitor) Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Carrie Welch of Little Green Pickle, Erin DeJesus of Eater Portland, Marcel Lahsene of Efficient Hospitality Solutions, and Mike Thelin of Portland Monthly had a difficult time declaring a winner, but they ultimately chose chef Adam Sappington of The Country Cat – making him the reigning champion three years running. In addition, the People’s Choice ballots were counted with Acadia’s Adam Higgs taking home the title, making him the next competitor to take on Adam Sappington at next year’s Portland’s Iron Chef battle.