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Iron Fork Satisfies — Even in a Virtual Setting

The winning dish of this year's Iron Fork chef competition.EXPAND
The winning dish of this year's Iron Fork chef competition.
Jessica Tran

Last week the Dallas Observer hosted its annual Iron Fork competition, which was worlds different from normal but just as fun.

Plus, in the chef competition — which put Dallas and Houston head-to-head — our city’s chef Luke Rogers won.

Now before you go on rolling your eyes: It’s 2020, virtual events are a thing now. And whether it’s a virtual wine tasting with Veritas Wine Room or a huge event taken to the screen like Iron Fork, it’s a fun use of time when we’re all spending our days at home as much as possible.

The pickup at Fair Park in South Dallas was quick and smooth, plus we got a few bites from Tutta’s Pizza and Halal Mother Truckers. And the box of goods was heavy enough that carrying two of them took some real effort. Some baked goods and loads of booze filled it up.

The actual event had a host who had just gotten in a bicycle accident but thankfully wasn’t bleeding on-screen (that was me). Better was chef Kent Rathbun, who took the lead of hosting the chef competition.

Houston chef Matt Staph of One Fifth Mediterranean and Rogers (formerly of Savor) had 25 minutes to prepare a dish with ingredients from U.S. foods.

The secret ingredient was the forgiving slow-roasted, vine-ripened tomatoes seasoned in oil. Of course, the trickiest part would be the seasoning in that oil, but both chefs prepared beautiful dishes.

Staph went with a tah dig (scorched rice) with feta-stuffed squash blossom and roasted tomato salad.

Rogers went with pasta: sea scallops fettuccine with summer vegetables and roasted tomato beurre blanc, a good way to use that ingredient. Rogers will compete in the World Food Championships in 2021.

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Chefs Kent Rathbun (left) and Luke RogersEXPAND
Chefs Kent Rathbun (left) and Luke Rogers
Jessica Tran

Even if we didn’t get to taste the dishes, it was a celebration of good food and the talented people who create it. Plus, ticket sales went to support the North Texas Food Bank and the Texas Restaurant Relief Fund by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Thanks to all who participated this year — don’t forget to use that card that gets you discounts at restaurants all over the city.

We can’t wait to see you in person at Iron Fork 2021.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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