Asheville Team’s Win Cast in Iron

Three of Asheville’s top chefs and three current A-B Tech culinary students recently competed in and WON the prestigeous Cast Iron Cook-Off® competition at the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia.

Team Asheville:

Chefs:

William Dissen – The Market Place Restaurant
Michael Moore – Blind Pig Supper Club of Asheville
Elliott Moss – The Admiral Restaurant

A-B Tech Students who assisted as sous chefs:

Harris Stoker
James Wyatt
Alex Harris

Chef Dissen’s gave me his take on the chef/student team bringing Asheville culinary cred to the West Virginia competition: “The Cast Iron Cookoff was a unique experience where chefs from across Appalachia had the opportunity to showcase heritage cooking techniques and local ingredients. Our team from Asheville did a great job collaborating together and it really showed with the unique twist of Asheville – Appalachian Cuisine that we created for the event.”

Cast Iron Cook-Off
Left: Michael Moore – Blind Pig Supper Club of Asheville
Center: William Dissen – The Market Place Restaurant
Right: Elliott Moss – The Admiral Restaurant

When asked about his perspective on the event, Chef Moore said, “It was an amazing experience and very memorable. The Greenbriar is historic and a true gem in America. West Virginia, also, is steeped in history and has an abundance of talent and passionate support for culinary education as well as in the local farming/ranching community. I’m very proud to have attended and participated in such an event with so many talented chefs paying homage to one of the cooking tools that has always been paramount and foundational to the southern cuisine that i know- the cast iron. I’m very proud to have showcased the ingredients (Cruze Buttermilk, Benton’s Bacon, Brasstown Beef, etc) from our part of Southern Appalachia in this competition. I truly believe we won gold mainly because of the quality of products that are produced right here in our region. It is so special. It is products like these that are genuinely unique and definitely world class and this represents that to the utmost  Very proud to represent Asheville in this competition of all of Appalachia.”

Together, they were named “Grand Champions” of cast iron cooking after presenting this incredible menu:

Cast Iron Cook-off Menu
February 1-2, 2013

1st
stump sound oyster, popcorn sutton moonshine & green apple mignonette, chili scented salt

amity vineyards, pinot blanc, willamette, or, 2009

2nd

cast iron roasted sunburst farm trout, smoked anson mills grits, local farm egg, pickled ramps, potlicker jus

littorai, chardonnay, charles heinz vineyards, sonoma, ca, 2004

3rd

roasted quail & dumplings, cruze farm buttermilk, roasted root vegetables, tennessee truffles

shea wine cellars estate, pinot noir, willamette valley, or, 2010

4th

benton’s bacon fat seared beef striploin, bbq sweetbreads, hakurei turnips

gundlach bundschu, mountain cuvee, sonoma, ca, 2010

5th

red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, raspberry sauce, borage

gloria ferrer, blanc de noirs, sonoma, ca, nv

The Cast Iron Cook-Off® event organizers have this to say about their “culinary extravaganza”:

“Food is the centerpiece of every human celebration and that traditions enhance the festivities. The heart of our Appalachian culture—in fact, of any culture around the world—is food. No matter how far away from home we move or how different our meals today are from the ones we grew up with, when it is time to celebrate a particular holiday, we feel the need “to go home” to the food and traditions our family associated with this occasion.

The use of cast iron cookware in the competition is also significant. Cooking with cast iron pots, pans, and skillets is an authentic Appalachian method dating back to frontier days. Using cast iron cookware also offers certain culinary advantages. Cast iron can withstand high temperatures and its nonstick surface makes it a great choice for frying, searing, or sautéing.

The Cast Iron Cook-Off® helps all of us reconnect with, maintain and celebrate traditions—the recipes, folklore, cooking utensils, ingredients—and adapt them creatively to fit our current lifestyles while keeping in mind recent findings about nutrition and health. Being rooted in tradition doesn’t mean that we must be bound to or stuck in the past. In fact, it’s the opposite. Change is easier and more effective when you consider where others have already gone and what they discovered does and doesn’t work.”

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