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For Immediate Release!
Dubuque chef becomes two-time winner of Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance
(CLIVE, Iowa) — A Dubuque chef was named Chef Par Excellence for the second time at the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s 2016 Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance competition on Jan. 25 in Des Moines.
Chef Jon Nelson of the Diamond Jo Casino’s Wood Fire Grille in Dubuque took home the top prize in IPPA’s 30th annual culinary contest at the Des Moines Marriott. He also won the event in 2012. Nelson earned a plaque and $1,000 for his latest pork creation; “Ad Porc de Trois.” The win also earned Nelson a trip to the National Pork Summit in St. Helena, Calif., this spring.
Second place, or Superior Chef, was presented to Chef Daniel Dennis of the Lion Bridge Brewing Company in Cedar Rapids. He also placed second in 2015. Dennis prepared a pork entrée he called “Red Wattle Torchon in 4 Seasons” and won $500 and a plaque.
Third place went to Chef Anthony Valvoda of Bata’s Restaurant in Cedar Rapids. His “Duo of Pork Shoulder” entrée earned him the Premier Chef plaque and $250.
More than 200 invited guests at the evening reception selected the People’s Choice Award winner and Chef Aaron Holt of RoCA in Des Moines took that honor. He won $250 and a plaque for his “Root Beer-braised Pork Shoulder Sliders with Crispy Sriracha Onions and Aioli in a Root Beer Reduction.”
Ten chefs from around Iowa prepared their pork entrees for judges in the afternoon. IPPA required each chef to use the Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder cut this year in an original entrée. The winning pork dishes were selected on the basis of taste, appearance and originality.
Judging this year’s competition were Chef Brad Scott, culinary instructor and head chef at Scott Community College, Chef Jonathan Cook, executive sous chef of the Iowa Events Center and Matt Unger, program manager with the Food Bank of Iowa. The evening reception was emceed by WHO Radio’s Bob Quinn.
The invited guests enjoyed the evening reception, samples of each chef’s entrée, and the award ceremonies. Seven different Iowa wineries and breweries offered samples of their best products.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Iowa’s Backpack program. IPPA encouraged guests to make monetary donations with that total matched by the association, plus $1,500. The food bank program received a total donation of $2,826.
The Taste of Elegance is a Pork Checkoff-funded culinary competition designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to menu pork. This event brings together talented chefs from across Iowa for an elegant occasion that highlights pork and its popularity as a menu favorite.
The IPPA Taste of Elegance competition and reception helped kick off the 44th annual Iowa Pork Congress, held Jan. 27 and 28 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
Editor’s note: Photos will be provided upon request in early February.