Chef Bobby Moore at Willows Lodge in Woodinville Wine Country outside Seattle is hosting the fifth annual Iron Vintner Challenge in June, pitting winemaker versus winemaker in a chef challenge to see who knows their way around an outdoor grill the best.
Partial proceeds from the event will be donated to the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, which helps disabled children and adults improve their minds, bodies and spirits through equine-assisted therapy. To date, the Iron Vintner Challenge has raised over $116,000 for the non-profit organization.
This year’s Challenge has an all-star theme bringing together the previous winners from the last four years, including winemakers: Darby English at Darby Winery, Lisa Baer from Baer Winery, Morgan Lee at Covington Cellars, and Chris Gorman who operates Gorman Winery.
Beginning on June 4, English and Baer will battle it out behind two Viking grills set up on Willows Lodge’s Fireside patio. The winemakers and their sous chefs will have one hour to prepare an app and main course with a secret protein ingredient and plethora of fresh local ingredients. The contest is designed to test the winemaker’s decision skills under pressure as much as their cooking prowess.
On June 11, Gorman and Lee duke it out, followed by the championship round the week thereafter. Then Chef Moore will host the grand After Party & Live Auction on June 25, highlighted by a dinner including his interpretation of the four winemakers’ meals paired with their wines.
“The incredible success of Iron Vintner Challenge tells me that Eastsiders are very loyal to their local winemakers, as well as an incredibly generous bunch who strive to support their community,” says Chef Moore. “We couldn’t have done this without them.”
Celebrity judges will taste and critique
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the contestants’ dishes and name a winner based on three categories: presentation, flavor and creativity. Also, during each competition round, guests can bid on rare magnums and private tastings and dinners donated by Willows Lodge, the resort’s award-winning Barking Frog restaurant and the competing winemakers and celebrity judges.
Tickets for the Iron Vintner Challenge are $75 per person for each competition round, which includes a tasting from each winery competing that evening, as well as a commemorative IVC 2014 wine glass. Tickets to The After Party & Live Auction are also $75, including passed appetizers and one dish from each of the four food stations, as well as a welcome glass of sparkling wine and pours from each of the four winemakers.
For those in attendance who’d like to stay overnight on the Wednesday evenings of competition, Willows Lodge will extend a special 15% discount via this link.