“Iron Chef America” is based upon a Japanese cult sensation that includes a kitchen stadium and a famed secret ingredient. Charleston has been represented three times on this popular show featured on the Food Network. Local chefs who have participated in the competition are Sean Brock of Husk, McCrady’s and Minero; Robert Carter of Barony Tavern; and Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary.
Brock competed on “Iron Chef” in 2010 using the secret ingredient of pig lard. According to a blog post on the Husk website, Brock was stunned by that ingredient. As part owner of Husk, McCrady’s and Minero, Brock only serves food that is indigenous to the South. He focuses on the ingredients and how they are grown. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, he was a finalist for the James Beard Outstanding Chef award. Later in 2010, he appeared on “Iron Chef” and even went on to host the show two years later. Make a reservation at any of the three restaurants tied to the Brock name and you will not be disappointed.
Carter, executive chef of Barony Tavern inside The Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel, appeared on “Iron Chef” in 2011. Diners will find American fare featured at Barony Tavern with classic dishes that are distinctly connected to Charleston. The décor is also quite eclectic and regal, but homey as well. The fine dining space is not too intimidating and bringing a date to Barony Tavern is a good way to make a lasting impression.
Lata appeared on “Iron Chef” in 2011, as well. Sparkling wine was the secret ingredient for his episode. At FIG and at The Ordinary, Lata is committed to local farmers, fisherman and purveyors. He has a passion for pure flavor, quality ingredients and has created an atmosphere at FIG and The Ordinary that is approachable and fun. The bars are inviting, and the dining rooms are designed for conversation. Reservations are required at both locations.
Food Network shows like “Iron Chef” are drawn to Charleston’s culinary chefs. The talent in our small city is quite large when it comes to culinary expertise. And, as locals, we have no problem with the attention.