GCC Hosted 8th Iron Chef “Elm City” Competition at Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On Sunday, April 26, Iron Chef Elm City returned. Host Gateway Community College (GCC) turned up the heat once again at a new location, The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. This year’s competing Chefs were Chef Carlos Cassar of The Copper Beech Inn, Chef Ian Frew, of Yale New Haven Hospital, and Chef Todd Ruiz from The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

Chef Ruiz was named the winner.

Jocelyn Maminta, WTNH-TV’s Emmy Award-nominated reporter, emceed. Celebrity judges were Layla Schlack, Associate Editor of Fine Cooking, a national food magazine where she produces and edits feature stories, as well as the Repertoire, Try This, Go Shopping, and On Location departments; Dan Brelsford, who was featured as a competitor on Season Three of The Taste on ABC, and food writer Priscilla Martel, former restaurateur and author of two best-selling culinary textbooks: On Cooking and On Baking.

The event opened with a reception that featured tastings from the competing restaurants and samples by the “secret ingredient” sponsor. Guests enjoyed samples from Gelato Giulana, Deep River Snacks, Willoughby’s Coffee, Sweetpea, Kennedy’s Kettle Popped Corn, Holly’s Oatmeal, Katalina’s Bakery, Guilford Spice & Tea Exchange and Orangeside Doughnuts (home of the square doughnuts). Guests could join the silent auction and the raffle for a chance to taste the competing chef’s dishes using this year’s “secret ingredient."

The format for Iron Chef Elm City is based on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” program and featured culinary experts as judges. The event’s producer was Stephen Fries, Gateway Community College professor, Coordinator of Hospitality Management Programs and food columnist for the New Haven Register). The audience was able to walk around and be in the middle of the action. GCC hospitality and culinary students were on hand assisting the chefs.

The chefs were provided with a list of five possible secret ingredients a week before the event. At the competition, the secret ingredient—pumpkin seeds—was unveiled and the chefs were required to create an appetizer, entree and dessert using the seeds – all in one hour.

Todd Lyon and Mike Devlin served as “kitchen commentators,” reporting on the chefs’ progress throughout the competition. Lyon has covered the New Haven restaurant scene for 20-plus years, writing for the New Haven Register, Connecticut Magazine and the New Haven Advocate. She currently pens the monthly “Players” column for New Haven Living magazine, and is co-owner of Fashionista Vintage & Variety, a clothing store for eccentrics. Devlin was a consultant, developing both savory and dessert items for Connecticut restaurants and bakeries. He is also an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College.

For a look back at last two year’s competition click on:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4izEfWsJ8o   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObQilBLHpNo