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Yelp Cincinnati Cooks Up An Iron Chef Epic Event!

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Five chefs took their place, poised, ready for battle along the long wall of the great room. Weapons in hand: knives, skewers, forks, spoons, bowls, pots, pans and fruits and vegetables. Only one could be crowned victor … but which of these culinary titans would it be?

This was the question asked during Yelp’s first ever Iron Chef Cook-Off, an event to promote the amazing Yelp Eats Week!

CrowdThree hundred people packed their way into the epic ballroom on the second floor of Eat Well Feasts and Celebrations to watch this showdown go down. Five titans of the table battled it out for honor and glory. And they were:

Chef Matt Buschle from Virgil's
Chef Josh Campbell from Mayberry / The Skinny Pig
Chef Steven Shockley, formerly of Maribelle's Tavern
Chef Mark Bodenstein from Parkers Blue Ash Tavern 
Bella Dolce from Roxy's 

The contestants came to the arena knowing that they’d prepare a meal using produce from Daisy Mae’s Market and one of these secret local ingredients, to be revealed the night of the event:

         Frisch's Tartar Sauce
         Glier's Goetta
         Skyline Chili
         Montgomery Inn Saratoga Chips
         Eckerlin's Bratwurst

And the secret ingredient was …

Goetta
GOETTA!

Yes, Glier’s Goetta brought 16 pounds of goetta (a breakfast sausage popular in Cincinnati that’s primarily made up of ground meat and oats). David Glier himself was on hand to cook-up some delicious goetta dogs for the hungry people.

Food 

Of course, with all this delicious food being made behind the chef’s tables, we knew guests would get hungry – and we had it taken care of. Ten different restaurants, dessert companies and vendors came with delicious food for people to sample: Bella Luna, Mac’s Pizza Pub, The Iron Horse, FB’s, Blinker’s Tavern, Keystone Bar and Grill, Donna’s Cookies, PhroZenGrateful Grahams and Streetpops were all on hand, delivering mouth-watering morsels and sweet treats.

“All the food was bangin', especially the buffalo chicken mac and cheese and the goetta pizza,” Benjamin B wrote.

“The bacon-wrapped dated from FB were my favorite bite for the evening,” Robert W told us.

“The Iron Horse’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus was one of my favorites for the night. Blinker's Tavern had their superb fettuccine Alfredo. You have to try it. Keystone Bar and Grill: Love, love their spicy mac and cheese. Donna's Cookies’ dessert with nuts and brownies was mouthwatering!  And Phro*Zen & Grateful Grahams’ vegan ice cream sandwiches was a highlight of the night for me!” exclaimed Ann L.

Clearly we had something for everyone…

Alcohol Alcohol2Of course, we needed something to wash it all down with, so bring on the drinks!  We had amazing beer from Christian Moerlein, Great Lakes Beer and Goose Island. Crispin provided refreshing hard cider and La Puerta Wines came with bottles of Torrontes, Malbec and Cabernet. Finishing it up, Pure Blue Vodka, made in Lexington, Kentucky, brought a watermelon filled with their smooth spirit, and NutLiquor, a peanut butter flavored vodka, created shots that tasted just like a Tootsie Roll!

“So. Much. Beer!! Great Lakes, Goose Island, Little Kings, Hudepohl, and then the Nut Liquor and the Vodka! Omgoodness alcohol heaven!” Rachel G sang out.

There was event fantastic non-alcoholic drinks from Coffee Emporium and vitaminwater for those with a different kind of thirst.

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The event was indeed a little hot, with the combination of body heat and chef’s on their grill, but we maintain it gave everyone a sexy sheen. And what better way to show it off than through Framester’s amazing Yelp Photobooth. People were able to take great-looking headshots, perfect for their Yelp profile page! “My husband and I loved using the Framester photo booth. It felt like a grown-up version of the mall variety,” Jennifer D said. Say cheese! Check out the photos here.

DJAnd to really set the beat, Queen City Crates was there, rocking a soundtrack to the evening’s event. Joe K “loved the old school spinning of the 45's.”

Hoxworth Blood Center was also on hand as a way for people to give back, handing out schwag and taking some pretty sweet photos. And a free raffle allowed yelpers to win some fantastic prizes like sneak peak tickets to Captain America: The First Avenger and tickets to Keith Urban's show at US Bank Arena!

ChefsBut of course, it all came back to the Iron Chef. “The competition itself was crazy, chefs flying around everywhere, looked like tons of fun,” Seb R declared. It was a ton of fun! The chefs each created their goetta masterpiece to be judged by our panel of lovely ladies: Julie from wine me, dine me, Bridgett from 365 Things To Do In Cincinnati, Carla from Hoperatives and Célèste, an amazing Yelp Elite! It was a tough decision but in the end, the winner was …

*drum roll*

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Josh Campbell from Mayberry / Skinny Pig!

Congrats Josh!

The food, the drinks, the entertainment, the competition, it was all something that’s never before been seen in Cincinnati. Just ask Allison J:

“It's easy to slip into a mindset in Cincinnati that you've seen and done everything. Tasted everything, heard every good local band, been there done that. I love finding new people and new things to celebrate in our city and I feel like I did that at last night's party.”

But don’t just take our word on the night’s awesomeness, you can read all the reviews right here. You can also check out the other awesome pics by photographer extraordinaire Anna Penny on the Official Yelp Flickr page.  

And remember, Yelp Eats begins today! Bon appétit my friends! 

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Alex S, Yelp Cincy Community Manager