Des Moines Chefs Win Winefest's Pork + Pinot Competition

Des Moines Chefs Win Winefest’s Pork + Pinot Competition

Winning chefs from the Pork + Pinot event include, from left, Dominic Iannarelli, People’s Choice; Caleb Crossett, first place; and Cole Gruis, second place.

Pork and wine pairings took center stage at a culinary competition and social soiree in downtown Des Moines in late September.

Pork + Pinot, a Des Moines Winefest event presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), gave Iowans the opportunity to taste pork dishes specifically paired with wine. The event especially attracts younger professionals.

Caleb Crossett, sous chef at Cheese Bar in Des Moines, took home the first-place honors at the event, which invited local chefs to create “a pork-focused recipe that best reflects Iowa,” using their choice of pork belly, shoulder, or loin.

The duo’s winning entrée—Hoisin Confit Pork Belly Cones—featured Hereford pork belly from Crooked Gap Farm in Knoxville; plum hoisin; kimchi pickled salad; puffed rice; and cilantro. Ingredients were layered inside a cone-shaped paper cup, which was a “fun plating,” one judge noted. Another judge commented that the “pork is perfect.”

Hoisin Confit Pork Belly Cones won over the judges at the Pork + Pinot culinary competition. The dish featured Hereford pork belly; plum hoisin; kimchi pickled salad; puffed rice; and cilantro.

Crossett received $500 for his top dish in a field of seven chefs/chef teams. He also was given an IPPA gift package.

The judges selected Chef Cole Gruis of Aposto in Des Moines for second place. Gruis prepared Garlic and Pork Shoulder Agnolotti: homemade stuffed pasta, smoked ausilio pepper pesto, and aged Parmesan foam. He received $200 and a gift package from IPPA.

The People’s Choice award, selected by Pork + Pinot attendees, went to Dominic Iannarelli of Splash Seafood Bar & Grill in Des Moines. He served The Big Hickory: smoked pork loin with bread-and-butter green tomatoes from Rinehart’s Family Farm in Boone; Prairie Breeze™ white cheddar from Milton Creamery in Milton; organic Bibb lettuce; and mustard sauce on a Big Marty’s sesame roll. Iannarelli also received $200 and an IPPA gift.

“The Pork + Pinot event was an overall hit,” said Kelsey Sutter, IPPA’s marketing and programs director. “It was a beautiful Iowa evening highlighted with delicious pork, wines, and great conversation.”

Other chefs and their dishes were: Hannah Elliott, Lola’s Fine Kitchen in Ankeny, Filipino Garlic Fried Rice; Cyd Koehn, Cyd’s Catering in Johnston, Gua bao-Pork Belly Buns; Jess Kruzslicz, Bubba in Des Moines, Pork Belly Crostini; and Said Pineda, El Fogón in West Des Moines, Tacos Carnitas.

IPPA provided $600 stipends to each of the chefs/chef teams to cover the costs of the food they prepared.