The use of pork balls to recreate a Mexican street taco beat the judges in this year’s Iowa Pork Producers Association tasting competition. This event, formerly known as the Iowa Taste of Elegance, is held annually at the start of the week of the Iowa Pork Conference.
Chef Chad Myers, of Bellevue, received top honors – or chef par excellence – in the IPPA Taste Competition. This year’s competition has challenged chefs to prepare a main course of ground pork.
“We wanted to help encourage chefs to come up with innovative ways to use ground pork, as it is becoming increasingly available in retail,” says Kelsey Sutter, IPPA’s Director of Marketing and Programs.
Myers is the chef of Iowa Healthcare, a company that operates large living facilities throughout Iowa. For the Taste Contest, Albondigas Al Pastor combined the flavors of taco pastor — a traditional dish made with marinated pork shoulder on a corn tortilla.
“Albondigas” is Spanish for meatballs, and Myers’ version features a base layer of corn pudding, Berkshire ground pork balls seasoned with chives and dried peppers; smoked pineapple and habanero jelly; Roasted poblano sauce a mixture of pickled onions, radishes and Cotija cheese; and coriander.
“I’ve always wanted to turn my tacos into an upscale plated dish,” Myers says.
According to Judge John Andres, the variety of textures, flavors, and cooking techniques “made for a very enjoyable use of ground pork, and enriched with some pleasant accompaniments.” Andres is director of the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Community College in Ankeny.
Myers received $1,000 and a commemorative plaque for his efforts to prepare a main course in the field of seven chefs.
The judges chose Aaron Holt of Doolittle Farm in Story City for second place, or chef. Holt was also awarded a People’s Choice Award by those who attended the tasting. Homemade Italian sausage meatballs with white cheddar polenta and crunchy shallots. Receive a shield for each prize totaling $750.
Third place – Premier Chef – went to Bob Trader of Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Co. In Des Moines. Served bacon wrapped Roulade. He got a plate and $250.
Victoria Groschott, of Rockwell, was named a media pick for her Wellington sausage. The award, chosen by current and former news reporters, also included a plaque and $250. Grouchot is head chef at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in Sack City.
Taste is a Pork Checkoff-funded cooking competition designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to eat pork in restaurants. The event brought together talented chefs from across the state, and the IPPA offered each a $200 stipend to offset the cost of the pork.
The IPPA provides additional opportunities for chefs throughout the year; If you are interested in learning more, call Sutter at 800-372-7675.
Source: Iowa Pork Producers Association, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and owns the entire information. Informa Business Media and all its affiliates are not responsible for any of the content included in this information asset. This author’s opinions are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.