Calling all FOODIES! Our Cast Iron Cook-Off is an annual event featuring our city’s most prominent chefs. It’s a chance to watch live as they create culinary delights for our panel of judges using fresh ingredients right from our Market.
A day of festivities at Chattanooga Market: The chefs arrive in the morning armed with their preferred serving dishes and cooking utensils, but nothing more; the Market provides each chef with a pantry of basic items (salt, sugar, vinegar, etc), a mystery ingredient or two, and a modest budget (typically $60) so that they may shop the Market for the remaining ingredients they need to prepare their meal. The “surprise” ingredient will be a sustainable seafood product to be determined in conjunction with the Tennessee Aquarium’s Serve & Protect initiative.
The chefs are provided about an hour of shopping time, where they can select the ingredients they choose from farms & local food providers at Chattanooga Market; there are no restrictions, other than all foods must be sourced from within the Market. The ultimate goal is to showcase the abundance and variety of local foods in a way that is both entertaining and educational.
After shopping, the real fun begins. Guest emcee, Thom Benson of the Tennessee Aquarium, will visit with each of the chefs as they cook to interview them, talk about the dishes they are preparing, why they chose those specific ingredients, what farms they shopped from and a mention or two about their restaurants. The chefs will, of course, be cooking in Lodge Cast Iron cookware.
Market patrons can have an intimate interaction with the chefs as they cook on our FiveStar cooking ranges; they ask questions, observe the cooking methods, smell the aromas and basically become part of the event. The cooking portion of the event lasts about 1 hour.
During the final phase of the event, the chefs present their dishes to members of the tasting panel for judging. The panel is asked to judge based on appearance, taste, creativity and overall impression. Both the runner-up and the new Cast Iron Chef are announced and awarded various cookware prizes supplied by long-time sponsor Lodge Cast Iron.
Recap of Schedule:
12pm Chefs introduced and shopping begins
1-2pm Live cooking demonstration
3pm 2012 Cast Iron Cook off winner announced