Monday, June 6, 2011

iron chef uptown season 3 winner: Nick and Nat's Uptown 21?

We're a few days removed from the final round of this year's Iron Chef Uptown competition that saw Langdon Hall get edged out by Bijou Restaurant in battle rhubarb.

In case you missed the details of Stratford's participation in this event I've boiled it down for you:
Bijou, of course, won twice.  Beating Langdon Hall and Versus Restaurant.
Stratford Chef School defeated Conestoga College.
Simple Fish and Chips made it a very close and entertaining battle (Slap-Chop ftw!) against Bhima's Warung.

Big wins all around; A great showing by the Stratford community.  Bijou showed off their Titan sized cooking skills.  The Food Bank of Waterloo Region received enough donations to allow them to distribute over $25,000 worth of food to those in need.  And I have something to blog about!

None of this would've happened without Uptown 21.  This is an event that is being talked about from London to Toronto and beyond.  It creates a great sense of community in southwestern Ontario, not just among cooks and restaurant types, but between restaurants and farmers, too.  It also showcases the underrated talent in this area to those who would not otherwise be aware (I am determined now to try 3-6-9 in Woodstock!)

Those who watch the TV version of Iron Chef might feel that they're watching an impossible task - featuring an ingredient that has only just been revealed in multiple courses?  All while being judged and scrutinized? How do they do it?  The trouble is, it's TV, therefore there is an element of fake.  Those cooks you see working miracles in kitchen stadium all know the secret ingredient well in advance.  There are cuts and lapses in time.  It makes for great viewing, but it is part illusion.

What happens at Nick and Nat's is like the grittier version of Iron Chef America.  (Picture Clint Eastwood compared to Vin Diesel and you'll get the idea).  These chefs have often just finished 10+ hour shifts in their own kitchens and come into an unfamiliar space to cook 3+ courses featuring an ingredient that's identity is actually unknown until 15 minutes before the clock starts.  It seems impossible and yet the dishes we've seen over the last couple months have been outstanding.

By donating their establishment, time, equipment and (at the peril of their bottom line) their pantry, Nick and Nat have created an event that I am already looking forward to for next year (though I hear rumours of a redux at Savour Stratford in the fall!).  I hope they continue and that the fan base for such a great event keeps growing.  Show your support for Uptown21, make the short drive to Waterloo to eat at this great restaurant, you won't be disappointed (some of the best service to be had in our area!).

Bonus Link!  Just noticed that there are several videos of the final still up on ustream, plus a few from previous battles, including the Chef School/Conestoga battle and Simple vs. Bhima's!  *Caution: a few of the videos grind my computer to a halt.*

1 comment:

  1. Here is a list of the farmers who supplied their great products to Iron Chef Uptown!
    Week 1: Burkhart's Maple Syrup
    Week 2: Baer's Vibrant Farms, Orgainc grass fed beef
    Week 3: Perth Pork Products, Wild Boar, Berkshire
    Week 4: Floralane Tomatoes/Martins Family Fruit Farms Apples
    Week 5: Tosali Farms, Goat
    Week 6: Barries Brothers' Asparagus
    Week 7, Nauman's Farm, Rhubarb