Iron Fork 2012: The Winners and the Hangover

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Gut Check has a headache, we can't hear very well out of our left ear and our go-to white dress shirt is stained with all of the major food groups and a fair amount of booze.

Yup. Iron Fork 2012 was a success.

The chef competition pitted defending champion Carl Hazel of the Scottish Arms (6-10 S. Sarah Street; 314-535-0551) against Jonathan Olson of Market Grill (728 Lafayette Avenue; 314-436-7664), Jason Tilford of Milagro Modern Mexican (20 Allen Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-962-4300) and Cassy Vires of Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676).

The main ingredient was a bone-in pork roast. The "secret" ingredient was almonds. Tilford might have smiled at this revelation: He'd already planned to use almonds in a mole sauce.

Coincidence? Or fate? Either way, the judges tapped Tilford's dish as the best, edging Hazel's strong bid for a repeat title.

Meanwhile, a field of twelve bartenders were engaged in a grueling mixology competition. It took a while, but in the end Shannon Ponche of Taste (4584 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-1200) brought home the prize.

There's a link below to a slideshow of the food, drinks and people of Iron Fork 2012, but before we leave you to that, some random observations:

Not only did Taste claim the cocktail prize, the Niche (1831 Sidney Street; 314-773-7755) family brought the most striking food sample: an eggshell with just its top clipped off, filled with maple custard and topped with bonito caviar. A beautiful presentation.

La Tejana Taqueria (3149 N. Lindbergh Boulevard, Maryland Heights; 314-291-8500) served its tacos on homemade corn tortillas in the shape of a heart.

Pastrami lovers were in luck: Not only did Bogart's Smokehouse (1627 S. Ninth Street; 314-621-3107) bring its remarkable pastrami, but Market Grill (728 Lafayette Avenue; 314-436-7664) was handing out samples of its tasty tuna pastrami.

If you've never attended Iron Fork or a similar tasting event before, take a lesson from the vets: Eat the sample you just received while standing in line for the next sample you want to try.

Oh, and never wear your favorite white dress shirt to a tasting event.

Allrighty, feel free to click away to view our slideshow of the food, drinks and people of Iron Fork 2012.

Location Info

Milagro Modern Mexican

20 Allen Ave., Webster Groves, MO

Category: Restaurant

Taste

4584 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music


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