Tomorrow night Dallas will gather at the Fashion Industry Gallery for the Observer's second annual Iron Fork competition. While many will focus on the food and booze sampling, the backdrop for the event is a cooking competition between former Joule chef and reigning Iron Fork Champion Scott Romano, and Whiskey Cake chef TJ Lengnick, whose gastrofare has been wowing Plano customers for the past year and a half.
Romano took the crown (fork?) last year with his inventive take on steak and eggs, which replaced the sausage normally used in a scotch egg with a mash of that year's secret ingredient: California avocado. Romano left the Joule this winter and has spent some of his time sexing up the menu of downtown's new Spread Eagle Saloon. The title is his to defend as Kent Rathburn presides over this second battle.
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Lengnick, meanwhile, spent two years at Shinsei, the Asian fusion bistro on Inwood, before heading to Whiskey Cake, and has also cooked at Nana, Pappa's Bros Steakhouse and other Dallas restaurants. At Whiskey Cake he's known for his inventive take on pub-grub, from deviled eggs, beef jerky and pork sliders, paired with one of Dallas' better known cocktail scenes.
Lengnick hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and should he use this year's secret ingredient in a Primanti Bros application complete with french fries and tangy sweet coleslaw, he will undoubtedly emerge victorious.
Tickets to the event are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, with a $75 VIP option that includes early admission access to the VIP lounge and some other perks.