The Iowa Pork Producers Association has named Chef Haley Silhacek winner of first place honors in the annual Taste of Elegance competition. The chef, of Ferrari’s Ristorante at the Park Place Event Center in Cedar Falls , was named Chef Par Excellence Jan. 26 in Des Moines.
 
The Taste of Elegance competition brings together talented chefs from across Iowa for an elegant occasion that highlights pork and its popularity as a menu favorite.
 
“This year was one of our most successful contests,” said Nelda Christian, of the IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee. “These restaurants should really be commended for their beautiful work and for taking the time to come to Des Moines and compete. 
 
Chef Silhacek was awarded the $1,000 top prize in the competition with her “Spiced Rubbed Pork Crown Roast with a Cider-Mustard and Bourbon Sauce, an herbed Goat Cheese and Grilled Red Potato Napoleon with a Warm Oregano Vinaigrette, and Sweet-Walnut Glazed Carrots.
 
Receiving second place honors – Superior Chef – and $500 was Chef Mark Barber of J. Benjamin’s Restaurant in Des Moines, for his “Portabella Stuffed Chop with Asiago Sauce on Spinach Bed.”  Third place – Premier Chef – and a $250 cash prize went to Chef Ephraim Malag from Oak View Restaurant at the Tournament Club of Iowa, in Polk City.
 
Chef Chad Elliott from the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah won the coveted “People’s Choice” Award along with $1,000. Each chef was required to use a fresh pork cut in an original entrée. Honors were awarded on taste, appearance and originality. As the winner of the Iowa competition, Chef Silhacek will be invited to the National Pork Board’s National Taste of Elegance competition this June in Baltimore, MD.
 
The 2009 IPPA Taste of Elegance competition was held at the Des Moines Marriott and kicked off the 37th annual Iowa Pork Congress.

Source: Iowa Pork Producers Association