The event is a celebration of food featuring the creativity of West Virginia’s finest chefs. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate and preserve the culinary heritage of West Virginia and to support the small farms that are so vital to sustaining the local, farm-to-table movement.
This year’s chef lineup includes Steven Halliday of Adventures on the Gorge in Fayetteville, Cody Thrasher of Cody’s in Clarksburg, Ted Hastings of Pierpont Culinary Academy in Fairmont, Jamie Henderson of Tamarack in Beckley, William Prunty of Iron Horse Tavern in Morgantown, and Scott MacGregor of Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
“The Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia was founded as a nonprofit in 2005 to foster culinary and heritage tourism in West Virginia,” said Jack Cipoletti, board member and treasurer of the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia.
“The Cast Iron Cook-Off® was central to that mission, because it showcased chefs from the finest restaurants in the state in a format where they not only competed against, but also learned from one another.”
Over the past decade, the Cast Iron Cook-Off® has evolved into a premier statewide event that blends consistent tradition with changing formats and venues. The 2017 Cast Iron Cook-Off® continues that evolution by partnering with the Winter Blues North Farmers Market, hosted by the WVU Extension Service Small Farms Center and the Morgantown Farmers’ Market Growers Association.
The Winter Blues Farmers Market annually features a host of products from West Virginia’s small farms…produce, meat, wool, wood and other farm-raised items. Last year, over 500 people attended the event, which also included restaurateurs and local musicians. The Cast Iron Cook-Off® brings an exciting new element to the event, and the Winter Blues Farmers Market brings a large, new audience to the cook-off!
Past winning dishes in the entree/appetizer categories have included Venison au Poivre with Black Cherry Jus served with Roasted Root Vegetables, Rack of Lamb with a Tawny Port Sauce and Chanterelle Mushroom-Ramp Risotto, and West Virginia Trout Cake with a Grain Mustard sauce.