Girl Takes Iron Fork!

By Isaac Stinson / Photography By William Goertel | April 14, 2017
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I’ve never had what it takes to be a food critic, much less the judge of an event as prestigious as last night’s Iron Fork competition. I do, however, enjoy great food prepared by highly accoladed chefs, so by 6:00 last night I found myself amidst the array of booths and demonstrations within the Musicians Hall of Fame. The venue was well-suited for the event: large and inviting from the outside, but with a distinct intimacy that allowed one to observe chefs and their respective teams work their magic from just across the table.

The night featured two notable competitions, one dedicated to drink and the other to dining. Before the announcement of the mixology winner, I got to stop by the competitors’ stations and sample what they had to offer. Far and away my personal favorite entry was that of Bar Sovereign, whose mixologist, Joe, offered a phenomenal blend of cucumber, cilantro, and other fresh ingredients that made the cocktail light and refreshing. This drink was coupled with an excellent whiskey-based cocktail. “The two,” he explained enthusiastically, “are designed to bounce back and forth and play off each other.” Bar Sovereign went on to win the contest for mixology.

While the drinks were fairly accessible for sampling, the same could not be said for every dish prepared by the competing chefs. I was lucky enough to try an element of chef Jessica Benefield of Two Ten Jack's prepared dish, but was unable to get to any of the other booths. In addition to Benefield, the contest featured Hal Holden-Bache of Lockeland Table and Dale Levitski of the upcoming EiO & the Hive. Aatul Jain of Chauhan Ale and Masala House was slated to compete as well, but was unable to attend due to his wife giving birth that morning (congratulations!). After three amazing radish-centric dishes and much deliberation by the panel of judges, Jessica Benefield was declared the winner of this year’s Iron Fork. From all of us at Edible Nashville, we congratulate her on an amazing accomplishment, and we appreciate all of the chefs and restaurants who helped make this another great event.

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