Iron Fork

Iron Fork Satisfies — Even in a Virtual Setting

Iron Fork Satisfies — Even in a Virtual Setting
Jessica Tran
click to enlarge The winning dish of this year's Iron Fork chef competition. - JESSICA TRAN
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.

click to enlarge Chef Matt Staph's plate for the competition - JESSICA TRAN
Chef Matt Staph's plate for the competition
Jessica Tran
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.

click to enlarge Chefs Kent Rathbun (left) and Luke Rogers - JESSICA TRAN
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.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.