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And your 2018 Iron Fork winner is...

The winning dish, brought to you by Fitzgerald's

The winning dish, brought to you by Fitzgerald's Chris Juhn

You know those riddles that have answers so painfully obvious it somehow makes them harder to solve?

The secret basket ingredient the Wedge chose for this year's Iron Fork was a lot like that. 

In 2018, our annual cooking competition was all about brunch. And what more dastardly way to trip up our dueling chefs than by "surprising" them with the brunch food...

Eggs.

They're the sneaky ingredient so tricky to master that even the best chefs in the world can't agree how to make 'em exactly right, which made them the perfect pick for Thursday night's good-luck-working-with-this ingredient choice.

Before we get to the yolky stuff, let's talk cocktails. Because no brunch spread is complete without them, and because it was the Absolut Mixologist contest that kicked off the night.

Bartenders from LUSH, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, Spring Street Tavern, Gluek's, Belle Ame Lounge, and B-52 Burgers and Brew put their finest drinks on display, but it was Belle Ame's bartenders who earned the win (and accompanying $500 prize). 

The culinary component of the competition showcased quick thinking on the part of all six competing chefs: Matt Leverty (Tullibee & Hewing Hotel), Samantha Jensen (French Meadow Bakery & Cafe), Graham Messenger (Fitzgerald's), Dan Schmit (Birchwood Cafe), Lachelle Cunningham (Chelles' Kitchen), and Stephanie Hedrick (LUSH).

But it was Messenger, with sous chef Jeremy Bechtold, who brought it home for Fitzgerald's.

Thanks to all our competing chefs and 'tenders—we'll see you all next year!