In a state known for pork production, it stands to reason that Iowa chefs would bend over backwards to come up with culinary creations worthy of taking home the big enchilada, so to speak, also known as the People’s Choice Award at the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s annual state competition and Taste of Elegance Gala. This year, the top spot went to the culinary team from Caroline’s Restaurant located in the historic Hotel Julien Dubuque in downtown Dubuque.
The Caroline’s team, led by Executive Chef Andrew Weis, dubbed their winning entry the “Pork Trinity.” The three dishes included Karubi rib kabobs with marinated mushrooms, peppadew peppers and seasoned red onions topped with an ancho chili BBQ sauce and served over a cinnamon saffron rice; applewood smoked bacon wrapped pork tenderloin drizzled with a Door County cherry glaze; and spice rubbed pork rib eye paired with a horseradish jelly and served over Chef Drew’s signature smashed potatoes.
“The inspiration for the trio was to offer a broad range of flavors, from sweet and zesty to powerful and spicy,” said Chef Weis. “We then included cinnamon saffron rice and our famous potatoes to keep it down to earth in other flavors.”
This was the 27th year for the competition, held in late January in Des Moines, with some 300 guests voting for their favorite dishes from the dozen competing chefs. Last year, Caroline’s culinary team came in second.
For dining reservations, call (563) 588-5595. To view menus, visit www.hoteljuliendubuque.com.