Article By Bob Carlton
The Food Network has “Iron Chef America.”
Birmingham has the Iron City Chef.
And on Saturday, July 22, four chefs from the Birmingham metro area will match their culinary skills in the ninth annual Iron City Chef competition presented by the Vestavia Hills Rotary Club and hosted by Culinary & Hospitality Institute at Jefferson State Community College.
This year’s competing chefs are:
- Sean Butler, executive chef at Revolve Kitchen & Brew in Hoover.
- Brittany Garrigus, pastry chef at Satterfield’s Restaurant in Vestavia Hills.
- Alan Nelson, executive chef at Nabeel’s Cafe & Market in Homewood.
- Ben Vaughn, executive chef at Inverness Country Club in Hoover.
As in past years, each chef will prepare an entree and a dessert for about 300 guests, who will get to sample all the dishes and vote for their favorites during the first round of the competition.
Garrigus plans to prepare a crispy braised pork belly with cornbread panzanella for her entree, and Chilton County peach hand pies with vanilla bean ice cream for her dessert.
Nelson will serve a penne pasta with shrimp, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil, cherry tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano for his entree, plus a Greek salad, and tiramisu for dessert.
Vaughn will prepare a porchetta with cold smoked carrot puree and mustard seed caviar for his entree, and Chilton County peaches, blue cheese fondant and pecan baklava for dessert.
Butler has not yet revealed his dish.
The two chefs who receive the most votes in the preliminary round will meet in the finals, where, much like the amped-up competitors on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” they will have a half-hour to create an entree using a mystery ingredient.
Along with Butler, who won the 2014 competition, previous Iron City Chef winners include Jeremy Downey of Bistro V in Vestavia Hills; Haller Magee, formerly of Satterfield’s Restaurant and currently the executive chef for The Yard and Moon Shine restaurants in the Elyton Hotel in downtown Birmingham; and three-time champion Thomas Robey, formerly of the Veranda on Highland in Birmingham.
The 2017 Iron City Chef Competition takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Shelby-Hoover Campus of Jefferson State Community College, 4600 Valleydale Road in Hoover. A silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m.
Individual tickets are $55, and are available in advance here. The event typically sells out.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Vestavia Hills math and debate teams, as well as efforts to bring clean water to communities in Zambia.
The sous chef who assists the Iron City Chef winner receives a culinary scholarship to Jefferson State Community College.
For more information about the 2017 Iron City Chef Competition, go here.