What will the winning dishes be? Who will be named Iron Chef Champion?
Come taste and vote this Thursday at the third Iron Chef Challenge benefit for the Gift of Life Transplant House.
This is one of the more exciting and challenging events of the spring season which sees five local chefs race the clock — and each other — to create dishes they won't have even chosen until minutes before the event begins.
"It really puts their talents and creativity to the test because they won't have much of an idea of what ingredients will be available," said Ginger Holmes, executive director of the transplant house and one of the coordinators of the event.
The fun takes place at Johnny Mango's Event Center, 505 Frontage Road in Byron, beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include chef demos, tastings, heavy appetizers and desserts. Non-alcoholic drinks will be provided. A cash bar will also be available, there will be live music and each guest will take home a bottle of Chateau St. Michelle, one of the event sponsors. Tickets are still available at gift-of-life.org.
The roster of participating chefs, as of this writing, is impressive: Bruce Born (Rochester Athletic Club), Derek Jensen (Chester's), Jim Nicholas (Wildwood Sports Bar), Nick Bongle (Five West), and Omar Feyen (Omar's Kitchen).
According to directives set by Mango, the chefs are allowed to bring whatever equipment they need, seasonings and spices as well as one or two helpers or sous chefs. That's it.
A community table in the center of the room will be filled with all kinds of vegetables, fruits, meats and fish, and each chef will be given a short period of time to go and choose his ingredients. The kicker: There is also a secret ingredient they must use in each of their three designated dishes: an appetizer or salad, an entree and a dessert. One recent year, the secret ingredient was salmon. A pantry with more typical ingredients like pasta, flour, sugar and eggs is also available to the group.
The time limit to create all three is 90 minutes. Chefs will have prepared and plated a judging plate for the judges and then platters of their dishes for the guests to come and sample. Guests also vote on their favorites as well as on a chef to be the overall winner. Last year's Iron Chef Champion was Feyen. Another attraction is the silent auction, in which each chef is offering dinner for eight prepared in your home.
All funds generated by this event go to the Gift of Life Transplant House, a home away from home for those needing transplants or in recovery. It was founded in 1984 by Ed Pompeian, a Rochester entrepreneur and himself a kidney transplant patient. His vision and mission was to provide Mayo Clinic transplant patients with high quality, affordable accommodations in a home-like environment. There are now two houses, across the street from each other on Second Street Southwest.