Challenge raises over $40,000 for Little Bit
Willows Lodge has announced results from the third annual Iron Vintner Challenge, which took place throughout the month of June. The event raised over $40,000 for Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center to support its mission to improve the bodies, minds and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy.
Morgan Lee of Covington Cellars ultimately won the competition, beating out his fellow winemakers Jerry Riener of Guardian Cellars, Kevin Correll of Barrage Cellars and Ross Andrew Mickel of Ross Andrew Winery for the acclaimed title of 2012 Iron Vintner.
“As we launch into our fourth year in 2013, we anticipate this popular event to continue to grow and evolve,” said Bobby Moore, Barking Frog’s executive chef at Willows Lodge. “We would like to thank our partners, attendees and Woodinville winemakers for committing their time, talent and passion to supporting a cause that is near to our hearts.”
The month-long culinary competition was emceed by Barking Frog’s executive chef Bobby Moore, who presented the winemakers with a different secret ingredient each week and 60 minutes in which to prepare an appetizer and entrée for a panel of celebrity judges.
This year’s celebrity foodie judges included James Beard Award winning chef and outstanding restaurateur Tom Douglas; Maxime Bilet, chef and cookbook author of Modernist Cuisine; Thierry Rautureau, legendary chef at Rover’s; Robin Leventhal, Top Chef alum and former owner and operator of Crave; Chris Weber, notable chef of The Herbfarm Restaurant and Dunham Cellars winemaker/owner Eric Dunham.
The judges provided commentary during the event, tasted and critiqued each contestant’s dishes and named a winner each week based on three categories: presentation, flavor and creativity.
Each competition featured a live auction led by auctioneer David Silverman to benefit Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Auction items included signed magnums from local winemakers, one-of-a-kind culinary experiences and a seat at the judges table next year.
The Iron Vintner Challenge concluded on June 27 with a special championship winemaker dinner on the Fireside Cellars patio.
“Willows Lodge has become a vital partner in Little Bit’s ability to deliver life changing opportunities to children and adults with disabilities,” said Kathy Alm, executive director of Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center.“Iron Vintner Challenge has become a high point in our year, expanding our community, raising awareness and funds, all to support our riders and their families. Chef Bobby Moore and the entire crew at Willows have our heartfelt appreciation.”