Hamburg Area Education Foundation held the third annual Iron Chef Hamburg and Benefit Auction on Nov. 3. The day was full of food, demonstrations, raffles, door prizes and of course the main competition.
This year the 2012 champion Chef Andrea Heinly took on last year’s top two People’s Choice award winner and runner-up Chef Tim Twiford of Prime Steak and Wine and Chef John Warner of Virginville Hotel in the Iron Chef competition.
The competing chefs had 30 minutes to provide samples of their best culinary creations using the three secret ingredients unveiled moments before the start of the clock. Delivered by Judge Kim Bagenstose, in some very traditional judge wear, the ingredients were turkey breast, kiwis and churros.
“This is what you’ve been waiting for,” said Shawn Fitzpatrick, Tilden Elementary Center Principal and emcee for the afternoon. “We have three outstanding chefs here.”
The chefs were introduced with a brief video introduction and then introduced their sous-chef for the competition. As the chefs began to work, the emcees Fitzpatrick and Shawn Gravish, Perry Elementary Principal, kept the crowd entertained and gave updates throughout the competition as well as announced raffle and door prize winners.
David Shefter, Chef and owner of Penn Werner Hotel, provided some insight as to the other ingredients available to the chefs as well as what it is like for them competing.
“Timing becomes very important,” said Shefter.
The judges also had a chance to tell the audience what they were seeing from up on the stage.
“It’s quite interesting to see some similar mindsets, but also some unique twists,” said Rick Allebach, owner of Good Eatz Green Café and one of the judges.
“What looks need is they’re all going in different directions,” said Michael Martino, Corporate Chef at Adelphia Seafood.
During the competition the judges were able to walk around the three tables set up for the competitors and see what they were doing. Mike Kratz, Executive Chef at The Highlands was the third judge for the afternoon. The fourth judge was decided during an auction shortly before the competition.
Once the timer ran down, the chefs presented a plate for each pair of judges. The judges had a chance to tastes the meals and then met backstage to have a conference over what they thought.
This year’s Iron Chef Hamburg winner was Chef Tim Twiford.
“It’s special for Jason and I,” said Twiford on the win. He explained that last year they dedicated their People’s Choice win to a member of the family that they lost and that this year they suffered another loss, that of Jason’s wife. The win was dedicated to her. Jason was his sous-chef for the competition.
Runner-up was Chef John Warner and Chef Andrea Heinly placed third.
“We had a great game plan,” said Twiford. “It’s awesome.”
People’s Choice winner was Stirling Guest Hotel and first runner-up was Haag’s Hotel. Both will be competing in next year’s competition.
“We appreciate your generosity,” said Gravish. “This is a very good fundraiser for us to keep the foundation going.”
The HAEF is an independent, non-for-profit organization developed to cultivate opportunities to advance scholarly, creative and person excellence at Hamburg Area School District. Gravish explained that the foundation helps support programs and projects that are not supported through other means. He used the example of a garden project at Tilden that will have learning stations to help students with their education.
Two plate of food from each chef were also auctioned off as well as food leftover in the pantry.
Also as the event was food tasting by more than 30 vendors in the cafeteria and the People’s Choice competition took place in the gymnasium. At the beginning of the event there was piano music by Cody Knight, a junior at Hamburg. Cooking demonstrations were done by Allebach and Martino.
Attendees commented on how much they enjoyed the previous events and this year’s as well. All of the production aspects were done by student and staff volunteers. Outten Family of Dealerships was this year’s featured sponsor. Proceeds from the event went to the HAEF. Next year’s Iron Chef Hamburg will be the first Sunday in November.