Cedar Rapids chef wins local pork culinary competition

Cedar Rapids chef wins local pork culinary competition

Kelsey Sutter, Iowa Pork Producers Association, (800) 372-7675
Chef Brad Scott, Scott Community College, (563) 441-4246


(BETTENDORF, Iowa) – A Cedar Rapids chef was named Chef Par Excellence at the 2015 Quad Cities Taste of Elegance culinary competition held in Bettendorf on July 13 by the Iowa and Illinois Pork Producers associations.

Ten chefs from Iowa and Illinois restaurants prepared an original pork entrée for judging on taste, appearance and originality during the day-long event at the Isle of Capri Convention Center. Judging was done by local Chefs James Allen, Reese McRae and Eran Salzmann.

Chef Mon Sayasit of Bata’s in Cedar Rapids took top honors with his “Pork Collar Tostada” entrée. Sayasit won $1,000 from the Scott County Pork Producers and the Chef Par Excellence plaque. He also earned the right to attend the National Pork Summit next spring at Greystone in St. Helena, California.

Chef Martha Cleveland Smith from the Blue Cat Brew Pub in Rock Island, Ill., earned Superior Chef honors for an entrée she called “Toasted Coriander and Fennel Pork Butt.” Cleveland Smith received a plaque and $700.

Third place, or Premier Chef, went to Chef Aaron McMahon of the Spring Brook Country Club and Cobham Life Support in DeWitt and Davenport. His original entrée was called “Pork Fat Sous Vide Cheek with Pork Snout Pudding.” McMahon received a plaque and $300.

Invited guests at the evening reception were asked to select their favorite pork entrée and the “Latin-spiced Tenderloin” prepared by Chef Josh Weathers of the Oakwood Country club in Coal Valley, Ill., earned the People’s Choice Award. He received $250 and a plaque. It was the second consecutive year that Weathers took home the award.

“There was variety in the chefs’ entrees, which personifies pork’s great versatility. Attendees enjoyed everything from a breakfast-themed loin and smoked cheeks to a southern pork roast and a Latin-spiced tenderloin,” said Suzy Ven Horst of the Scott County Pork Producers and IPPA’s Restaurant and Foodservice Committee. “The chefs were very creative this year and they love to surprise people with their original ideas.”

“The Quad Cities area was hungry for some pork this year! This 12th annual competition had its best attendance yet with more than 300 pork-loving fans lining up to get a taste of the chefs’ innovative entrees,” said Kelsey Sutter, marketing and programs director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association annually conducts Taste of Elegance events to encourage local restaurants to add pork entrees to their menus.

Donations were collected at the door for the Scott Community College Culinary Arts program and $1,600 was raised. Culinary students spent the evening serving desserts, busing tables and washing dishes.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year and the students get a lot of good experience, as well,” said Chef Brad Scott, chief cook for Scott Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality.

Martin Bros. Distribution Co., U.S. Foodservice, Scott County Pork Producers, Scott Community College, Milan Florist, Trophy Shoppe and the Isle of Capri all participated as sponsors of the Taste of Elegance competition.


Editor’s Note: Photos of the winning chef and entrée will be provide upon request.