This past Wednesday October 5th, 2011 I went to the Oktoberfest Iron Chef competition in Kitchener Ontario at Bingeman’s Marshall Hall along with 400 other pork enthusiasts. Pork was the main ingredient that had to be used in all of the dishes, and what says Oktoberfest more than pork! With roasts, schnitzels, and or course sausage it is clear that Germans are huge pork fans.
Ontario Pork sponsored the event which raised over $10,000 in support of Conestoga College’s Culinary Arts Program, which will go towards scholarships for students. The students were paired up with eight different chefs from popular local restaurants. These culinary teams competed in the quest for votes to receive the prestigious award for the first annual Oktoberfest Iron Chef Champion.
The judges included Emily Richards, home economist; Philippe Saraiva, chef and professor, Conestoga College and Dave MacNeil, 2nd Vice President, 2011 Oktoberfest Board of Directors. Judging was based on taste, presentation and creativity. The guests also got a chance to taste the delicious spread and then vote on their top 3 choices to choose a People’s choice award. Waterloo Inn Conference Hotel swept the awards and won 1st place with the judges, as well as the People’s Choice Award. They won with their pork belly creation (a delicious belly glazed in some sort of brown sugar reduction, deep fried cheese, cherry tomatoes and candied pecans). Hog Tails Bar B Que took second place with a southern dish of panko crusted pork and grits and The Bauer Kitchen came in third with a sandwich inspired pork creation. Additional restaurants competing included: Bingemans, Borealis Grillhouse & Pub, Gusto Catering Company Inc, Sole/ Blackshop Restaurant and Wildcraft Grill Bar. All of the participating restaurants did a great job, when counting the ballots there was no runaway leader; it looks as though everything was just so good that it was hard for the participants to pick their favourite!