If you’re a local foodie you won’t want to miss Iron Chef Iowa City. The competition will be held Friday, April 4, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Main Ballroom of the University of Iowa’s Iowa Memorial Union on Madison Street.
The free event is sponsored by the UI Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts as part of the “Food, Ethnic Identities and Memory” symposium which includes four food-themed lectures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. that same day.
Just like its cable namesake, teams of three chefs from the Iowa Memorial Union, Zins restaurant in Cedar Rapids and the New Pioneer Co-op will be given surprise ingredients and will have 15 minutes to improvise a recipe. They will have one hour to prepare a main dish and side dishes if they wish.
Four cameras cover the competition and broadcast live shots of the chefs in action. “Play-by-play” commentary and interviews will be projected on a screen for audience members.
The winning team will receive a plaque and a feature story in the Edible Iowa River Valley magazine featuring their winning recipes.
Marcia Hughes, vice president of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance, a local actress and singer, will serve as emcee. Commentators include Floyd Akins, senior director for development at the UI Foundation; Rikki Saltzman, folklorist for the state of Iowa; and Michael Knock, food writer for the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Five judges will determine the competition winners: UI President Sally Mason and her husband, UI lecturer Ken Mason; Joe Jennison, executive director of Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance, Beth Bewley, executive director of The Englert Theatre and president of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance; and Wendy Wasserman, publisher of Edible Iowa River Valley.
Co-sponsors of the cookoff are IMU Food Services, Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance and Edible Iowa River Valley magazine. The UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Harry Oster Folklore and Folk Music Memorial Fund, the Graduate College and the Office of the Provost provided funding for the event.