“Are you ready?” John Frank, emcee, asked the crowd. “Are you ready for the countdown to begin for the 2011 Howard County Iron Chef Cook-Off to begin? All together now — five, four, three, two, one — chefs, start your grills.”
The local farm-to-table Iron Chef competition was held on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Howard County Fair and involved four teams. Each team was provided, and used, the same Howard County grown products.
Much like the popular Food Network series, “Iron Chef America,” each team was to prepare a beef main dish and a vegetable side dish in the one hour allotted. Final judging was based on the total presentation, taste, texture, aroma and creativity of the dishes.
Following the heated (but friendly) competition, the judges were presented with and tasted each dish. Them the winners were announced.
Team YMCA, representing the Y of Central Maryland, was awarded a ribbon for “best teamwork” and became the overall iron chef champion. Team Girls on the Run of Howard County was presented the “best presentation” ribbon. The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks’ two teams, administration and operations, were awarded ribbons for the “best vegetable” dish and the “best beef” dish, respectively.
Locally grown food products for the challenge were provided by Clark’s Never Sell the Land (grass fed beef); Bowling Green Farm (cheese); Love Dove Farm (vegetables); Sharps at Waterford Farm (herbs, tomatoes, corn); and Larriland Farm (fruit).
In addition, the Howard County Beekeeper’s Association supplied honey and Triadelphia Lakeview Farm provided baskets for the winners.
The Iron-Chef competition serves as the kick-off for Howard County’s Eighth Annual Farm-City Celebration which runs from Sept. 17-Oct. 2. The 16-day celebration provides fun for families and learning experiences for kids of all ages and offers an opportunity to appreciate the contributions our farms make to the quality of life for all Howard County residents. For more information, visit www.farmheritage.org.