Council Bluffs chef wins IPPA Missouri River Valley Taste of Elegance

Council Bluffs chef wins IPPA Missouri River Valley Taste of Elegance

March 20, 2015

Kelsey Sutter, Marketing and Programs Director
(800) 372-7675,


(CLIVE, Iowa) — The Iowa Pork Producers Association held its 4th annual Missouri River Valley Taste of Elegance culinary contest on March 16 in Council Bluffs and a local chef captured top honors.

Chef Jess Dolson of Hy-Vee Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs prepared “Orange and Lavender Caramel Pork” and was named Chef Par Excellence by the team of judges. She received a plaque and $1,000 from IPPA, along with an all-expense-paid trip to the National Pork Summit being held this month in St. Helena, Calif.

Nine Iowa and Nebraska chefs gathered at the Iowa Western Community College Student Center for the contest, which was open to all chefs from states along the Missouri River. Each participant was required to use a fresh pork cut in an original entrée.

“This event and the competition has gotten better every year. You could really sense the anticipation in the room as Emily Cook, 2015 Iowa Pork Princess, read the results from the judging room,” said IPPA Marketing and Programs Director Kelsey Sutter. “Chef Jessica shouted with joy as her name was announced as the 2015 Chef Par Excellence winner.”

Chef Jacob King of Flatiron Café in Omaha was named Superior Chef for his “Chili Glazed Pork Belly Egg Roll.” He earned $500 and a plaque from IPPA.

The Premier Chef Award was presented to Chef John Rea of M’s Pub in Omaha. Rea prepared “Sous vide Maple Pork Belly and Buttermilk Hoecakes” and won $250 and a plaque from IPPA. Rea also received Premier Chef honors last year.

Margarite Goodenow, a retired caterer; Mike Hoppe, instructor and program chair at Iowa Western C.C.; and Mike Sprecher, meat manager at Fareway in Council Bluffs, judged the nine entrees on their taste, appearance and originality.

About 125 guests attended the evening reception, sampled each chef’s entrée and determined the People’s Choice Award winner.

The attendees selected Chef Ryan Askeland of Dusty’s Place in Griswold for his “Pecan-crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Bacon Chutney.” For being the people’s choice, Askeland received $250 and a plaque.

“It was really nice to see a good variety in all the dishes at this year’s event and the People’s Choice ballots proved that all the dishes were enjoyed by the attendees,” said Stephen Friedrich of the IPPA Restaurant & Foodservice committee.

The Taste of Elegance is a Pork Checkoff-funded culinary competition designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to menu pork.