BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON -The heat was on for five Fort Madison students on Friday at a high school Iron Chef competition and they came away with the title.
Fort Madison juniors David Goebel, Maddie Sadler, Mercedee Doty and seniors Garrett Pumphrey and Lydia Mabeus traveled to Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa on Friday to compete against seven other schools in a prep cooking competition.
The Fort Madison group took first place by a single point and Goebel said the judges said the creativity was what put them over the top. Other teams included Mt. Pleasant, Davis County, Pekin, Van-Buren, Eddyville-Blakesburg and Ottumwa. Mt. Pleasant took 2nd place.
The contest consisted of teams having to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert in two hours and 30 minutes and then present to the judges and the theme was Latin or Asian fusion.
But it may have been the dessert that was the hit of the day. A dessert that quite literally would melt in your mouth. A rainbow drop cake made with mineral water and agar powder which, if done correctly, creates a clear jello ball when poured into an ice tray and refrigerated. It’s typically serviced with soybean powder and brown sugar syrup, but the Bloodhounds whipped up a caramel sauce and served it with mint leaves.
“We sent Mercedee to the bathroom to Google it,” Goebel said.
“You can use your phones but you can’t be around the kitchen and you can’t be in anyone’s way with it,” Doty said.
They started with an Elk dumpling with sweet and sour sauce and a white cheese dipping sauce.
Pumphrey said the group put cilantro and jalapeno in the elk dumplings to create the Latin infused flavor.
“Our theme was Latin/Asian fusion,” Goebel said. “The first two had to have pasta in them, and they’re both rice-based cuisines but they had to have pasta in it, so that was a bit frustrating.”
The team put out a Vietnamese bowl with grilled shrimp and pork, rice for the main dish.
“We had to have some time management involved and we had it down to doing it about an hour but we got two hours and 30 minutes. So we let some of the stuff marinate longer because the longer you marinate the more flavor,” Goebel said.
“I am so proud of the Fort Madison High School Culinary team of students for their determination and hard work to win the 2017 Spring Iron Chef Competition at Indian Hills Community College,” said the group’s instructor Michelle Crandall.
“We have won second place the last three times, but this is the first time to win first place. These competitions are in the Fall and the Spring. The group met and practiced 4 times to prepare for the competition. Our school won the huge trophy and each student won their own Mercer knife set in a carrying case.”
“It was a close competition this year,” said Mark Fisher, the organizer of the event for Indian Hills. “We had 3 judges this year and they commented on what a great job all the schools did. They said it was a tough competition this year and the schools performed very well with some amazing food and plate presentations.”