Last week I had the pleasure and honor of being a judge for the Iron Chef competition at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The great part about it was the secret ingredient: Roasterie Coffee.
The contestents were given a coffee in all forms: dark roast, light roast, whole bean, ground– even in in both auto drip and espresso grind!– as well as brewed coffee and a cold water toddy concentrate.
What these guys and girls did with our coffee was somewhat of a miracle. I have cooked with coffee myself, but without the ingenuity of MU’s chefs. We had one team that used brewed coffee as a brine for chicken, we had another team used coffee as the liquid for a risotto and another team used coffee to encrust scallops.
I personally judged based on the apparent coffee flavors in the dish as well as the creativity taken by the chefs to incorporate coffee into everyday items. The winning team, 3-time champions Contents May Be Hot, made a coffee encrusted steak topped with a portabella mushroom with coffee gravy, and coffee-brined chicken with coffee infused polenta. I will say it was definetly the most coffee forward dish, and I gave it a lot of credit for creativity– I mean, who would have ever thought to add coffee to a brining liquid or to polenta?