Local cuisine on display at Iron Chef Meets Taste of Williamsburg

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Sweet Tea and Barley took home the Critic's Choice Award for its unique take on down-home southern cooking. (Courtesy GWCTA)
Sweet Tea and Barley took home the Critic’s Choice Award for its unique take on down-home southern cooking. (Courtesy GWCTA)

Local chefs were heating up the kitchen at last week’s Iron Chef Meets Taste of Williamsburg event.

The annual culinary competition, sponsored by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance and the Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association, took place in front of a sold-out crowd at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Williamsburg last Thursday.

Guests had the opportunity to sample food, wine and beer from 20 different booths and vote on their favorites. A panel of judges from the press, design and food industries also weighed in with their top choices.

The professional panel selected Sweet Tea & Barkley by Colonial Williamsburg as the winner of both the Critic’s Choice Award for overall quality, effort and impression and the Chef William Swann Award for best themed presentation.

The People’s Choice Award was split into two categories this year: culinary and beverage. Riverwalk Restaurant took home top honors in the food category, while Virginia Beer Company was named the overall favorite in beverages.

Chef Robert Love from Second Street Bistro (left) Michael Ellis from the Williamsburg Inn compete in the Iron Chef competition. (Courtesy GWCTA)
Chef Robert Love from Second Street Bistro (left) Michael Ellis from the Williamsburg Inn compete in the Iron Chef competition. (Courtesy GWCTA)

All of the event’s sponsors, which included Aura at Quarterpath, Busch Gardens, C&F Bank, Chesapeake Bank, Colonial Williamsburg, Great Wolf Lodge and William & Mary, also got to vote for the Toast of the Taste Award winner. Riverwalk Restaurant took home the silver cup for the second year in a row.

After the tasting portion of the evening was over, attendees watched teams of local chefs battle it out in a cooking competition based on the popular reality television show “Iron Chef.” The three chef teams were each given a basket that contained three proteins, three fruits and vegetables, two starches, one spice and two “curve ball” ingredients, according to a recent press release from the Tourism Alliance. The curve balls thrown at the teams this year were barbecue chips and mini-marshmallows.

With the ingredients in each basket, the teams had to create an appetizer and an entrée to present to the judges. After a heated competition, Chef David McClure from Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill, Chef Frank Lang from Great Wolf Lodge and Chef Ian Robbins from Café Provencal and Wedmore Place at The Williamsburg Winery took the top prize with a BBQ crusted scallop.