And the SMCDC Iron Chef Is…

Some of the Cheftestants at SMCDC Iron Chef!

(photo courtesy of Shashi Bellamkonda)

The Social Media Club-DC Iron Chef Holiday Cook-off, held last week at the offices of NextGenWeb, was a terrific success! Turnout was terrific, the audience was lively, the judges were witty and fair, and (most importantly), the food from our chefs was delicious!

I’d like to begin by offering sincere and enthusiastic thanks to everyone who made the event such a success–starting with our own Nisha Chittal, who coordinated the event pretty much single-handedly. Also instrumental was Shana Glickfield, who generously arranged for the terrific venue. And of course, many thanks go to our wonderful sponsors, the National Turkey Federation (can you guess what the secret ingredient was?) and New Media Strategies.

Six SMC members volunteered to have their holiday dishes judged by our esteemed panel of foodie bloggers. As a reminder, the chefs were:

Justin Herman, @justinherman
Chris Cassidy, @citizencassidy
Melissa Vallejo, @h0neyb
Alex Howard, @digiphile
Shashi Bellamkonda, @shashib
William Neuheisel, @wneuheisel

And the judges getting the honor of tasting the delicious turkey-based delights and choosing the winner? Local food bloggers generous enough to donate their time and taste buds:

Katie Test, We Love DC, @isitdinneryet
Stefanie Gans, Endless Simmer, @gansie
Mary Cunningham, Arugula Files, @arugulafiles
Jon Eick, So Good Blog, @sogoodblog

The dishes were all wonderful, I can’t imagine how the judges selected a favorite. I was, however, delighted when William Neuheisel’s pomegranate glazed turkey cutlets with roasted fennel and thyme with bulgar emerged victorious.

Not playing favorites, just relieved I didn’t ruin anything. Why? Because naturally, being a rather daft idiot, I accidentally sampled the winning dish from the giant table of food the chefs were working from–before it went out to be judged!

A faux pas William somewhat easily corrected since I hadn’t actually cut into the turkey, but I can tell you my guilt was extreme–very glad it didn’t ruin his chances to win!

Rounding out the top three were Shashi Bellamkonda with his curry spiced turkey meatballs, and Chris Cassidy with a turkey confit with crostini and cranberry relish. Special mention should also go to Alex Howard, the only contestant to use a true “Iron Chef style” and use the secret ingredient to make four special turkey-themed dishes, including turkey liver pate!

All in all, it was a wonderful way to ring in the holidays with the SMC-DC community. Thanks again to the organizers, participants, judges, and sponsors, and we’ll see you in 2010! January event details should be posted to our Facebook page soon.

Stay tuned!

For Shashi’s write-up of the even for the Washington Examiner, see here.
For some more event photos, see here.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Very excited to have read the event went so successfully. I am so proud of Nisha for taking the reins for the last event of the Calendar year. The pictures do tell 1000 words and I only wish I was able to have tried the food. I will be back in swing in January with the next SMCDC event. Look forward to a very successful new year with all of you.


  2. Kudos to the SMC DC team, you folks rocked and this was a great idea. Thanks for putting it together. I am happy that I won the second prize even though I think the love that went into each dish made everyone’s contribution a winner. Got to find a way to get more support to DC Central Kitchen and William Neuheisel, @wneuheisel did a great raising awareness through his award winning dish. Kudos to the judges whose blogs really rock and to the audience who turned out in great numbers.

    Great Job Sarah and the SMC DC team incl. Nisha, Larissa and other wonderful folks


  3. […] just before the holidays, so I thought it might be fun to collect my swab at Cap City after the SMC-DC Iron Chef event. When people see you doing weird things in bars, they want to know what and why – and […]


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