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State fair food is commonly known for its deep-fried excess, but this year’s Iowa State Fair featured a contest showcasing options that are both healthy and delicious.
This week’s competition, hosted by The Soyfoods Council and the Iowa Restaurant Association, allowed fairgoers to watch four local chefs make and discuss their tofu-based salad dressings in front of a panel of professional judges, then sample the results.
The winner: Chef Alex Strauss from the Market Café at the West Lakes Hy-Vee supermarket in West Des Moines. Strauss won over the crowds as well as a six-judge panel with his gold medal-winning sweet and spicy creamy mango habanero dressing, served over a mixed local greens salad with avocados, hearts of palm, red peppers and Jamaican jerk pork.
Healthy and Consumer Friendly
The competing chefs were challenged to make salad dressing recipes using soft silken tofu as the base; the dressings had to be consumer friendly and were delicious enough to put on a restaurant menu.
The other competitors were Chef Kerri Rush, Fresh Café & Market, who won second place for her Clive-Avotziki salad dressing; Chef Hassan Atarmal, Fresh Mediterranean Express, third place, Waukee-tofu soy ginger dressing; and Chef Patrick Cashman, Guru BBQ, Des Moines, fourth place, tofu roasted raspberry chipotle dressing
All participants received cash prizes.
Contest judges were Tom and Susanne Oswald of the Iowa Soybean Association; Angela Ten Clay, communication manager for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield's Blue Zones Project; Table 128 Bistro + Bar owners/operators Lynn and Sarah Pritchard; and 2015 Soy Salad Dressing Competition Champion Chef Scott Stroud from College Chefs.