And The Winner is….

The day was a long one, but yesterday’s Stella Artois Iron Chef Tucson was a fun one. The event was held at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa and included cooking demonstrations,DSCN2311 booths with cooking equipment and foodstuffs, samples of food from an assortment of restaurants and lots and lots of beer and other spirits.

I was lucky to be a participant this year. Not as a chef – heaven forbid – but as a panel member in one of the many breakout sessions that were a part of the Iron Chef Culinary Event.13524374_10104989648990322_4042269662127497380_n

Along with Andi Berlin of (The Arizona Daily Star), Adam Lehrman of Tucson Foodie and with Matt Russell from On the Menu …Live who moderated the panel, we discussed the restaurant scene in Tucson – Past, Present and Future.

There were three sessions which drew good sized crowds. In between we ate and drank and chatted with the various providers that were a part of the event.DSCN2308



The day culminated in the Iron Chef competition between defending champion Chef Danny Perez of JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa and Chef Javier Castro of Casino del Sol.Danny-Perez-620x400

The chefs and their teams had one hour to prepare four courses using the secret ingredient (chocolate) in each dish. One dish had to incorporate Stella Artois.

Matt and Chef Jonathan Landeen, owner and executive chef Jonathan’s Cork were the emcees. Neither of these two would ever be described as shy, so the patter was lively with professional insights from Jonathan.DSCN2321


Judges were chefs Alan Zeman, Russell Michel, Executive Chef at Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa and Brian Burton from the Art Institute of Tucson.

The good-sized audience watched (with up close views on mega-screens) as the chefs went at it.DSCN2327

Add the power going out due to a major storm and the competition was a great time.

It was difficult to see and hear the dishes but in the end Danny Perez prevailed.

A good time was had by all.