Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Throw Down: Iron Chef Competition

Our squash centerpiece
Recently at TheBashionista, I have been giving you ideas for cooking-themed parties - the Chili Cook-Off and the Mac & Cheese Bake-Off. Today is the third part in this little trilogy of deliciousness: The Iron Chef Competition.

The beauty of Iron Cheffing it, is that *you* get to choose your favorite ingredient of all time and have people compete for the chance to blow your mind. It's like the party equivalent of robbing a bank and then getting marry the banker's daughter.

When party host extraordinaire and Food Network enthusiast Eleza Kort threw her Iron Chef party, the secret ingredient was: Squash. We feasted on squash salad, two versions of stuffed squash, squash & lentils, squash curry, squash risotto, roasted root vegetables and pumpkin mini muffins. (Check out the winning recipe here and the fan favorite here!) Not in love with the mighty gourd? Let me stress that your secret ingredient can be ANYTHING. Cheddar cheese! Apples! Rice! Garlic! Bacon! Eggs! Avocado! Mexican Chocolate! Just pick something you know you won't get sick of.

Here's how Eleza Kort broke it down for us:
  • As chairwoman, Eleza kept the whole show rolling. She selected three judges and one photographer. She got firm confirmations from her 8 contestants, and *insisted* that if we didn't show up on time, we'd have to light ourselves on fire. She also helped the judges tally their scores.
  • 24 hours before "showtime," the secret ingredient was emailed to everyone.
  • Contestants had to make an original dish at home, warm it on site, plate three servings for the judges, and then serve the rest potluck-style to the other contestants.
  • Each contestant presented her dish, explaining the thought process behind it.
  • Judges took notes on taste, creativity and presentation, then were sequestered until they were ready to announce the winner.

Pumpkin mini-muffins

In true Iron Chef style, only one person walked away as the winner (plus one fan favorite). The prize was a big floppy chef's hat. Feel free to get creative with your own prizes - a trophy item the winner could hang in his kitchen, a garlic press or a ladle, an apron, a box of fancy chocolates, etc.. Whatever you choose, present it with a flourish, as you bestow eternal gloating rights on your victor.

Featured Cocktail: Prosecco and St. Germain
The perfect cocktail for your evening will depend on the secret ingredient you choose - but it's hard to go wrong with this one. The bubbles sweetly cleanse your palette between each course, and the delicate flavor of the liquor will sharpen your senses. Simply pour a glass of Prosecco and add 1/2 to 1 oz of St. Germain, to taste.


  1. Who is hosting the next Iron Chef? I think Eleza should do another one....I want in!

  2. This all sounds amazeballs. The second I get a kitchen table—and utensils—I'm going to do it.

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