If you’ve sworn off Facebook until friends stop posting videos of people getting ice-water dousing, but still want to support people with ALS, consider leading your posse to the Iron Event.
In its fourth year, the annual best-bites competition pits some of Buffalo’s top chefs against each other for bragging rights and prizes. It’s organized and inspired by Daniel Tracy, a former chef who is living with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
You can get into event, held from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), for just $30. (Tickets are available through http://theironevent.org/tickets/ and may not be available at the door.)
“For 30 bones, you’re getting – excluding me – some of the top chefs in town, and getting to preview some of the newest openings in town,” said Jeff Cooke of Osteria 166. “Everyone’s getting so competitive, so to get the opportunity to see what people are doing is pretty cool. You’ll get to see a wide spectrum of what’s going on town.”
Cooke will present a pork belly berry cobbler, a bite that blurs the distinction between dinner and dessert. He runs it at the restaurant, 166 Franklin St., as a special.
Pork bellies are marinated in a cherry juice brine for 48 hours, then roasted in a slow oven, cooled and cubed. Blueberries, red raspberries and strawberries are pureed and cooked down with sugar. “We’ll put whole berries, some of that coulis and that pork in a dish, top it with Dutch crumbs and finish it in the oven,” said Cooke.
“It’s the fat from the belly that really hammers it home, the sugar caramelizes and the berries melt into it,” he added. “With the edges of the crispy pork belly, we describe the flavor as the last bite of a blueberry pancake breakfast.”
He’s been tweaking the dish for months. Expect similar efforts from other Iron Event chefs, he said.
“For us to be able to come together to fight ALS, and especially support Dan Tracy, is a special moment. Everybody puts time and care into this event, to rally around a chef,” said Cooke. “It’s kind of close to all our hearts. There is no safety net for us, unless maybe you’re working for Sodexo or something. So when something like that happens, you’re on your own unless the community can help you out.”
Scheduled to serve at the Iron Event are:
• Edward Forster from Buffalo Proper
• Bruce Wieszala from Tabree
• Matt DiCamillo from DiCamillo’s Bakery
• Steve and Ellen Gedra from the Black Sheep
• Jeffrey Cooke from Osteria 166
• Jill Forster from Nickel City Cheese and Mercantile
• Carmelo Raimondi from Carmelo’s Lewiston
• Chaz Bulera from the Riverstone Grill
• J. Lennon Lewandowski from Oliver’s
• Mike Andrzejewski and Chris Daigler, representing Bourbon and Butter
• Frank Mercado from M&T’s Executive Dining Room
• Jennifer Boye from the Mansion
• Luci Levere from Elm Street Bakery.