After an intense hour of cooking on the Ithaca Commons, Chef Andre Jacquet from the Boatyard Grill emerged victorious in the city's first-ever local Iron Chef Competition on Saturday.
Before the competition began, chefs Andres Jacquet of the Boatyard Grill, Brian Ross of Cornell Dining, and Doug Tingley of Simeon’s on the Commons paced under the pavilion, not knowing what mystery ingredients that would be available for their use. Just a few simple tools like cutting boards, knives, bowls, and butane burners awaited on their tables. They had just one hour to prepare a meal for the judges.
Interviewed just before the countdown to cook-off, none of the chefs offered any clues about their ideas. As the competition got underway, the three first grabbed relatively ordinary ingredients: a whole chicken, onions, potatoes, and garlic. Festival-goers looked on with interest, munching on apple fritters, caramel apples, and local grapes.
In the following video, Chef Andre takes a moment out of the competition to describe what he's cooking for the judges.
The final presentations were impressive: seared chicken, braised veggies, marinated fruit salad, lamb chops, sauteed plums with port sauce, and more. After enthusiastic tasting as rain started to fall, judges Michael Welch of Edible Finger Lakes Magazine, Elizabeth Karabinakis of Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Debbie Hoover of the Tompkins Trust Company deemed Andre Jacquet the winner.