Months ago, a friend asked, and I agreed to judge a local Iron Chef competition supporting The Children’s Relief Nursery.

The day of the event, April 20, I found myself in full panic mode.

I hadn’t watched an actual “Iron Chef” show in years and couldn’t remember what was expected from the judges. Arriving at the Portland Art Museum, I grabbed a glass of wine and wandered around like a middle school kid unprepared to give a speech in class that day.

About the time I was considering a second glass of wine, I was whisked up to the stage. From the judges’ table, I looked down at Kitchen Stadium. Ingredients were piled in the middle, flanked by two cooking areas. Mirrors hung to the sides with cameramen stationed underneath. My scorecard lay in front of me, and my heart pounded in my ears.

The emcee introduced the competing chefs. Defending champion, Adam Sappington, of The Country Cat Dinner House in SE Portland, skipped on-stage waving. Next, the challenger Adam Higgs, of Acadia Restaurant in NE Portland, lumbered up and raised his palm.

The secret ingredients were unveiled: rhubarb, coffee and ramps. The whole place erupted in a flurry of activity as the chefs raced to prepare three dishes–each incorporating the secret ingredients–in less than forty minutes.

Right away, the emcee put a microphone in my face and said something I couldn’t hear. I replied with my loud laugh, “Well, Chloe, I’m thinkin’ breakfast! Sautéed ramps with scrambled eggs, rhubarb compote with scones and, of course, coffee.”

She looked at me blankly and went on to the next judge.

While she was preoccupied, I glanced down at the chefs and noticed a faint shaking of Adam Higgs’ hands. Something took hold of me. I pulled it together and paid attention.

At the end of forty minutes, I found Adam Higgs’ refined dishes on my left: rhubarb and fennel salad, coffee/spice rubbed pork tenderloin, sautéed potatoes and ramps with a coffee gastrique. To the right were Adam Sappington’s down-home plates of coffee-infused crêpes, topped with rhubarb compote and fried chicken on a creamy bed of garlic, leeks and ramps.

I was impressed. The food was amazing. I felt that I couldn’t have come up with those dishes if I had a month, let alone forty minutes in front of a live audience.

In the end, the fried chicken was just a bit more pleasing than the pork tenderloin, and Adam Sappington kept his title.

Share
Published by
admin

Recent Posts

A mother-daughter duo writes a YA novel set on the Oregon Coast

interview by Sheila Miller Kim Cooper Findling and her daughter, 14-year-old Libby Findling, seem to have pulled off a near-impossible…

4 weeks ago

An architect and interior designer fashion a modern Tetherow home befitting the high desert

written by Melissa Dalton In this house, the formality of a traditional enclosed entryway is a thing of the past.…

1 month ago

Summit Arts Center’s creativity stems from a desire to preserve history in Government Camp

written by Catie Joyce-Bulay photography by Daniel Stark Most people head to Mount Hood for the epic skiing and hiking,…

1 month ago

A solar apiary combines solar power and pollination

written by James Sinks Honeybees dance and dip among the lightly shaded wildflowers in this patch of Rogue Valley farmland,…

1 month ago

New Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Nataki Garrett seeks to broaden marketing and season

What I'm Workin On interview by Sheila G. Miller The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced earlier this year that its new…

1 month ago

My Workspace — Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

Rehabilitating wildlife is a way of life for this former vet tech written by Catie Joyce-Bulay photography by Joni Kabana…

1 month ago