Iron Vintner Challenge: Round 2 at Willows Lodge

by Shona Milne on June 19, 2011

I was invited to attend Round 2 of 2nd Annual Iron Vintner Challenge on Wednesday night at Willows Lodge. The contest takes four Woodinville winemakers who battle it out on the grill and the kitchen and just to make things a bit more interesting, there is the secret ingredient which they need to use to prepare an appetizer and an entree’ in 60 minutes for a panel of local celebrity judges. Chef Bobby Moore of the Barking Frog picks the secret ingredient and keeps the evening events moving along.  Each winner will be selected based on presentation, flavor and creativity of their dish.

Round 2 was between John Bigelow of JM Cellars and Chris Upchurch of DeLille Cellars. The secret ingredient for this round was clams. John of JM Cellars was cooking up clams in breadcrumbs as an appetizer and scallops and clams with a large couton to soak up the broth for his entree’. Chris of DeLille Cellars was prepping his appetizer and entree’ when he cut his hand 12 minutes into the challenge and the clock had to be stopped. With a band-aid and a glove on the cut hand he picked his knife back up and went to work on his chorizo, clam, Yukon potato dish with onions, bell peppers and no spices. He believes that the flavor should come from the ingredients. Chris also used a little DeLille Roussanne in his dish.

Iron Vintner Challenge 2011 Secret Ingredient

The first round was last week between Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery and Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars. The winner of Round 1 was Chris Gorman.

And the winner of Round 2 is………………Chris Upchurch of Delille Cellars. So, this means that next week’s final will be Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery vs. Chris Upchurch of Delille Cellars.

The championship round is Wednesday, June 22nd from 5:30-7pm and tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.

There is also a four course winemaker dinner on, Wednesday, June 29th. It will feature all four winemakers in the Barking Frog. Tickets for this dinner are $135 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the Barking Frog at (425) 424-2999. You can peruse the menu and see which wines are being poured; it might help you make the decision to attend.

The Iron Vintner Challenge benefits Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Woodinville. They provide equine-assisted activities and therapy for children and adults with disabilities. Their mission is to improve bodies, minds and spirits through equine-assisted therapy.

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