Last evening, six local chefs competed for the Golden Fork Award at the Pitch's Taste of Kansas City event, held in the KC Live Block of the Power & Light District. Chef and restaurateur Jasper Mirabile Jr. served as emcee for the Iron Chef-style competition where the competing chefs were given a limited bag of ingredients - in this case, the items included pork, kosher salt, figs, balsamic vinegar, a tiny bit of cream, fingerling potatoes, fresh herbs (saffron, rosemary, cumin and chives), canned artichoke hearts, lentils, capers, and rice - and had 75 minutes to complete a dish to be judged by me, food blogger Emily Farris (FeedMe KC) and culinary instructor and caterer Mary Berg.
Charles d'Ablaing of Chaz on the Plaza, the Raphael Hotel's dining venue, was voted the top contender, with chef Bobby Stearns taking second-place honors and EBT Restaurant's Tate Roberts voted for third place; the other competitors were Beth Barden of Succotash; Michael Foust of the Farmhouse; and last year's winner, Jesse Vega of the Our Lady of Mercy Country Home.
Charles d'Ablaing created three unusual dishes for the judging: a starter, an entree and a dessert. The starter was a deconstructed potato salad with fingerling spuds, sauteed and cold-smoked pork, and a dollop of chopped artichoke and charred onion salad. His dessert was a crispy funnel cake with a ginger whipped cream.
I think they all deserved a fork constructed of some precious metal. The Golden Fork Award, I was sad to note, was not made with real gold.