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February 7, 2015 10:02 AM

Local Iron Chef competition attracts record crowds

More than 340 guests were in attendance as some of the region’s most celebrated chefs, supported by students in Conestoga’s culinary arts programs, competed to win the hearts and palates of celebrity judges, including culinary superstar Susur Lee, at the Iron Chef Waterloo Region competition held at Bingemans on February 5.

The annual event, now in its fourth year, provides a showcase for the community’s top culinary artists and supports student learning. Proceeds from the event are used to fund scholarships for Conestoga’s culinary students. This year’s event raised $15,000.

Guests and judges sampled dishes prepared by eight teams led by chefs from the region’s top restaurants. Teams included the Bauer Kitchen & Beertown, Bingemans, Borealis, the Charcoal Steak House & Wildcraft, Gusto Catering, the Lancaster Smokehouse, Sole & Blackshop, and the Waterloo Inn.

All dishes featured beef chuck, this year’s feature ingredient, provided by Stemmler’s.

The winning dish, which received both the Judges’ Award and the People’s Choice Award, was pomegranate and blood orange-braised beef chuck with pickled blood orange chermoula and cumin-dusted crispy Jerusalem artichokes. It was prepared by the Bauer Kitchen and Beertown team.

“We are very grateful to the community for their support of this annual event,” said Gary Hallam, executive dean of Conestoga’s School of Business & Hospitality. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for our culinary students to build their skills as they gain experience working with the region’s top chefs, and also helps provide students with the financial support they need to fund their education.”

Sponsors for this year’s event included Stemmler’s, Bingemans and the Rogers Radio Group.

Conestoga’s School of Business and Hospitality provides a broad range of culinary and hospitality programs to prepare students for successful careers in the growing hospitality industry. As part of their learning experience, students operate Bloom, a full-service, licensed dining room at the Waterloo campus that is open to the public. For more information, visit bloomatconestoga.ca

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