ALL PHOTOS BY THEO WELLING
There will be a quartet of top chefs going head to head. There will be a secret ingredient they must use in both a dish and a cocktail. There will be an audience holding their breath for the winner.
But this iron chef battle isn't taking place at Kitchen Stadium — on May 2, the 2018 Iron Fork competition is going down at City Museum.
's signature food event, Iron Fork Unplugged
promises more than just chefs showing they've got the right stuff. A huge group of top St. Louis restaurants are promising unlimited tastings all night long, along with live music from local bands and no less than eight (count 'em!) drink tickets for every attendee. (Check out photos of last year's event
for a glimpse at the fun .... and last year, we weren't even at the City Museum.)
But if you're into chef competitions, this one is indeed a doozy. The four participants were chosen by RFT
food critic Cheryl Baehr, and while last year's runner-up, David Sandusky of BEAST Craft BBQ, will attempt to take the title, he faces a phalanx of skilled competitors.
One of these chefs will be this year's winner:
The chef/owner of Beast Craft BBQ recently thrilled city diners with the announcement that he'll be opening a second outpost of his Belleville eatery in the Grove. Baehr has repeatedly suggested St. Louis' best barbecue might actually be in Belleville
; if you haven't gotten a taste yet, the May 2 event is a good chance to see what you've been missing.
Executive chef of Guerrilla Street Food's forthcoming Grove location, Gata was born in Manila but landed in Mascoutah, Illinois, at fourteen. He was working at Yelp (quelle horreur!
) when he snagged a job at the Vine on South Grand. He later turned to cooking full time, enrolling in culinary school and working at Completely Sauced before landing a spot at St. Louis' growing Filipino restaurant chain
This "up-and-comer," in the words of Cheryl Baehr, opened a restaurant of her own in New Town St. Charles last year: Pangea World Fusion, a "casual fine-dining restaurant focused on using fresh ingredients and international flavors." Previously sous chef at James Beard award-winning Sidney Street Cafe, Gilroy has "soared" in her new venture, Baehr writes
Acclaimed for his work at Harvest, Miller now runs the kitchen at 23 Blocks City Catering. A California Culinary Academy graduate, he's also cooked at the Hudson House, the private dining room at Beringer Winery in St. Helena, California, and been named in Best Chefs America 2013. Through his work at 23 Blocks, Miller also runs the kitchen at Handcrafted by Bissinger's, where Baehr writes that his food "is as good as ever.
The competition kicks off at 8 p.m., with the judges set to make their decision by 9:10 p.m. Eager to see who will be named St. Louis' Iron Chef for 2018 — or just want to gain access to those eight drink tickets? We've got all the info online here