Unique pork with top Iowa chefs
Twelve Iowa chefs competed for top honors at the 2018 Taste of Elegance, hosted by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Each chef is asked to prepare a featured cut. This year’s selection is country style rib. All the chefs enjoy the chance to be creative. When talking with the chefs, all express pork is an appealing animal protein to serve in their food establishments due to its versatility.
People and conversation
Bill Northey, Iowa Agriculture Secretary, says the Iowa Taste of Elegance is about the people. It is a great event highlighting Iowa pork, but it also connects hog farmers with chefs, business owners and lawmakers.
Bye, bye fancy pork
Chef Chad Myers, Dubuque Golf & Country Club, says getting back to the basics and creating a combination with cheaper cuts of pork will be what’s hot in 2018. It is about getting more out of a pound of pork this year. “I feel like fancy is going away,” he notes.
Happy pigs make good pork
Marriott assistant sous chef Candace Watkins says the Iowa Taste of Elegance allows chefs to experiment with pork. Her mustard marinated country style ribs were mainly comprised of Iowa products including Berkshire pork marinated in bourbon. “It is a really simple dish, but I wanted to demonstrate how simplicity can just taste great with the right piece of pork,” she says with a smile.
She wants the farm to be a happy place for the pigs. “The happier the pig the better the meat — period. I want my pigs treated well,” Watkins stresses.
In three years, chef Andrew Ungs, Whiskey Road, has served over 60,000 pounds of pork in the Cedar Falls restaurant. Apparently, all that time in the kitchen preparing pork has paid off as he takes top honors at the 32nd Iowa Taste of Elegance with his dish Peking Pork with wasabi mashed and gingered carrots. “Country style ribs have to be smoked in my mind. To make it nice and really tender with rib, I wanted to give it a good braise to break down the meat and the tissue,” says Ungs.