With a six-course spread using the secret ingredient wasabi, Daniel Pliska, executive chef of the University Club, won Thursday night's Iron Chef Challenge 3: The Final Showdown - beating out Mark Prece, corporate chef at the American Italian Pasta Company based in Kansas City.
The event, presented by KOMU/Channel 8 and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce was held at the Holiday Inn Select Expo Center. It is modeled after the popular "Iron Chef" series airing on the Food Network. The show pits two prominent chefs in a one-hour timed cooking competition to see who can prepare the best full-course meal using one staple ingredient in each of the dishes. The ingredient is not announced to the chefs until right before competition begins.
Thursday, chefs Pliska and Prece had to use wasabi - a Japanese horseradish - in each of their creations.
About 450 people attended the fund-raiser for the Chamber of Commerce and watched as the chefs raced to finish their dishes. Pliska created a six-course spread that included a lime-wasabi custard with sauteed lobster topped with lobster cream and a tomato-lime relish.
"I feel great," said Pliska with his trophy in hand. "Everything went the way I wanted it to."
Their dishes were tasted and judged by Chris McDonnell, owner of Chris McD's and 2002's Iron Chef; Peio Aramburu, head chef of Trattoria Strada Nova and 2003's Iron Chef; Beth Malicki, anchorwoman at KOMU; and Ali Ratcliffe, a recent culinary school graduate who won the panel seat in a live auction that preceded the competition.