Dining With Denise Neil

One Wichita chef will earn a big award on Saturday

2015 Iron Chef Cook Off, Old Town Farmers Market

Hyatt chef Paul Freimuth wins the championship spoon at Saturday's event. (Sept. 5, 2015) Video by Denise Neil with footage by Travis Heying.
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Hyatt chef Paul Freimuth wins the championship spoon at Saturday's event. (Sept. 5, 2015) Video by Denise Neil with footage by Travis Heying.

Labor Day weekend is almost here, and one of the most fun things to attend on Labor Day weekend is the Old Town Farmers Market’s Iron Chef Competition.

I’m a longtime judge at the event, now in its 14th year at the Saturday-morning market at First and Mosley. It pits local chefs against each other creating dishes on the spot using ingredients they find at the market’s vendor booths. They must incorporate a secret ingredient, which they find out about just as the competition starts. Last year, it was side bacon.

This year’s contest will feature chef Paul Freimuth from Harvest Kitchen/Bar in the Hyatt, who will be defending his 2015 title. The other competitors will be Travis Joy, who also works at Harvest, Josh Rathbun, the new chef at the Ambassador’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, and Ben George, Intrust Bank Arena’s executive chef and a past Iron Chef champion.

People at the market can watch all the action. They can’t taste the food, sadly, but it’s still fun to watch.

My co-judges will be local wine and food experts Guy and Beth Bower and longtime market manager Pat Randleas. The chefs will find out what the secret ingredient is at 8:30 a.m., and we should choose the winner between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m.

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