Iron fork 2018 plantains, bacon fat and bicycles oven baked bacon recipe

Pinewood social’s green garlic tartare.The moment doors opened at last night’s sold-out iron fork competition, the hungry vultures descended. A stunning array of gorgeous samples were gobbled up, restocked, and gobbled up again as hundreds of nashville’s biggest food fans milled about at the musicians hall of fame and museum.

Mere bulles served mini crab cakes on thin watermelon rounds; bare naked bagel offered pastrami-lox bagel chips with pickled onions; nashville jam co. Had chicken and biscuits with a side of roasted brussels sprouts; pinewood social wowed with green garlic steak tartare on thick squares of toast. There was pâté from merchants, gumbo from B.B. King’s and some kind of pulled-pork nacho business that smelled so good from farm burger. Taj indian was there with enough food to feed an army (and I might’ve eaten half of it myself), and reyka vodka presented samples with a glowing ice sculpture.

It was paradise.

But the all-you-can-eat samples and great cocktails from the aero bar — the lavender lemonade seemed to be a big hit — weren’t even the main attraction.CAPTION HIDE CAPTION we were all here to see some of nashville’s finest chefs throw down for the iron fork trophy, with the winner also snagging the opportunity to compete in the 2018 world food championships.

This year’s contestants? Julia sullivan of henrietta red, trey cioccia of black rabbit, kirstie bidwell of the old school farm to table, and larry carlile of hemingway’s.

But first, the secret ingredient! Emcees crystal de luna-bogan of the grilled cheeserie and last year’s iron fork champ jessica benefield looked (playfully) embarrassed when U.S. Foods’ brandon styll admitted that HE FORGOT TO BRING THE SECRET INGREDIENT. U.S. Foods stocked the pantry full of whatever the chefs would need to make their dishes — meats, cheeses, every fruit and vegetable you can imagine — with no secret ingredient in sight. Thankfully, postmates was on the case. Just a minute later a man burst through the crowd on a bike with a picnic basket full of the night’s biggest mystery.CAPTION HIDE CAPTION

Kirstie bidwell of the old school farm to table photo: eric englandafter postmates delivered, the chefs got to work — with a small team in the well-stocked but cramped quarters, they sifted flour, chopped oranges, fried plantain chips and whipped up sauces in front of the live audience. They had just 60 minutes to impress the judges. The air filled with the scents of frying bacon fat, sautéed garlic and coconut reduction. Iron fork needs its own perfume line.

When the hour was over, the dishes were presented to the panel of judges — US foods division chef ed butler; CEO of the world foods championship mike mccloud; scene food blogger chris chamberlain; and celebrity guest wells adams. (the chefs’ start times were staggered so everyone had the chance to present a hot and fresh dish.)

Larry carlile of hemingway’s. Photo: eric englandas the hard-to-please and hungry panel critiqued the creations, one extra plate from each chef was auctioned off to the highest bidder in the crowd — with all proceeds benefitting the nashville food project — and, my god, did things get out of hand.HIDE CAPTION benefield had bidders on a roll — $100! $125! $150! — and we saw a new iron fork record when carlile’s chimichurri bistro fillet, his play on steak and potatoes, went for a whopping $240!

All dishes looked delicious and smelled even better, but there could be only one winner. As the judges conferred, the nerves grew. The chefs returned to the stage to hear the results. And your iron fork 2018 champion is … Julia sullivan of henrietta red!

Adams especially loved sullivan’s dish, a stuffed plantain, saying, "I don’t know how you injected crab into a banana. … You’re some kind of wizard." indeed she is. After sullivan was awarded the iron fork trophy, mccloud also gave her a golden ticket to the world food championships, where she’ll have the opportunity to compete for a $100,000 prize. That’d buy a lot of plantains.

Julia sullivan’s winning dish, a plantain filled with crab scallion stuffing, with pine nut crumble, orange celery salsa and a meyer lemon saffron butter sauce.CAPTION HIDE CAPTION

Julia sullivan’s winning dish, a plantain filled with crab scallion stuffing, with pine nut crumble, orange celery salsa and a meyer lemon saffron butter sauce. SHOW CAPTION HIDE CAPTION

Larry carlile’s chimichurri bistro fillet with plantain and potato hash, cool ranch plantain chips, tostones and coconut lime sauce. SHOW CAPTION HIDE CAPTION

Trey cioccia’s ricotta gnudi with plantains roasted in bacon fat and a coconut broth with lime, shallot, roasted poblanos and garlic. SHOW CAPTION HIDE CAPTION

Kirstie bidwell’s plantain parisian gnocchi with tobacco coconut cream, brown butter crunch crab tostones and walnut gremolata. SHOW CAPTION HIDE CAPTION