Josie Jensen

Industry Blog
, IRA Press Information
, Press Release
/
December 28, 2018

RoCA Chef Aaron Holt Receives State Award for His Commitment to RoCA

POST DETAILS
DATE
December 28, 2018
AUTHOR
Des Moines, IA- Oct 10 – On Monday October 10th, Chef Aaron Holt, Executive Chef at RoCA, was awarded the 2018 Chef of the Year Award by the Iowa Restaurant Association for his determination and commitment to RoCA’s success. Aaron was presented the award at a ceremony in Des Moines by the Incoming Chairman of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors Joe Essa of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide and the Current Chairman of the Iowa Restaurant Association Board of Directors Darin Beck of Barmuda Companies.   Aaron Holt is proof that you don’t need a culinary degree to be an award-winning chef.  He started working in restaurants at age 15—but at the time, it didn’t occur to him that he could make a career in the industry. In college he pursued an architecture degree but continued to work in restaurants.  During his sophomore year, at age 21, something happened that changed the course of his life—he was promoted to an executive chef position.   He worked several front of the house and chef positions— gleaning everything he could from every restaurant and role.  In 2007 Aaron approached award-winning Chef Andrew Meek and offered to work for him for free just so he could learn from the best and develop a better sense of fine dining cooking.   As the Executive Chef at RoCA, Aaron has been instrumental in creating and building the menu as well as helping to create the ambiance that RoCA tries to provide their guests night after night. He loves to use local and seasonal ingredients in his dishes, including produce he grows on his family’s farm. Not only is he fully committed to continually improving the customer experience at RoCA, but he also is paying it forward by serving as a teacher and mentor aspiring chefs. A video showcasing Aaron can be found at www.restaurantiowa.com. Iowa Restaurant Association The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state. Media Contact: Josephine Jensen Public Relations Specialist jjensen@restaurantiowa.com 319-464-0766
Industry News
, IRA Press Information
, Press Release
/
December 28, 2018

Chef Competition Combines Beef and Soy to Create Culinary Masterpieces

POST DETAILS
DATE
December 28, 2018
AUTHOR
October 11, 2018 – Des Moines, IA –
This week, the Iowa Restaurant Association in collaboration with The Soyfoods Council and the Iowa Beef Industry Council, completed their statewide culinary competition at a Celebratory Gala in Des Moines. The two-part competition challenged top chefs across Iowa to create an entrée featuring a bottom round flat steak and a soy-based side dish or sauce. A team of professional judges visited each restaurant to evaluate each dish. On Monday, the 10 chefs showcased their competition creations in sample portions at a Celebratory Gala held in conjunction with Iowa Hospitality Expo. Hundreds of event attendees then voted for a People’s Choice winner.
“These award-winning creations highlighted the exceptional culinary talent of Iowa’s chef community,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “The variety of this year’s entries and flavors also exemplify the adaptability of these Iowa-based products to any style of cuisine. We expect to see many of these competition dishes on menus this year.”
This year’s winners were:
 
1st Place – Chef Andrew CardilloThe Marriott, Des Moines
Recipe: Sous Vide Braveheart Black Angus Beef Bottom Round Flat Steak, Duck Fat Tofu Fries and Mash + Marrow Steak Sauce
 2nd Place – Chef Aaron Holt, RoCA, Des Moines
Recipe: Iowa Beef Meets Asian Influences
 People’s Choice – Chef Oscar Hernandez712 Eat + Drink, Council Bluffs
Recipe: Mediterranean Spiced Beef roll with tofu falafel with chili de arbol and cucumber mint yogurt sauce
###
About the Soyfoods Council The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world. www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com
 
About the Iowa Beef Industry Council
The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head National Beef Checkoff Program and the $0.50-per-head Iowa State Beef Checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.
 
About the Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s industry with educational and promotional programs across the state. www.restraurantiowa.com.
Media Contact:
Josephine Jensen
Public Relations Specialist
319-464-0766
Industry News
, IRA Press Information
, Press Release
/
September 21, 2018

Cedar Falls Bartender Named Iowa’s Mixology Champion

POST DETAILS
DATE
September 21, 2018
AUTHOR
September 7, 2018, Des Moines, IA– Seven top mixologists from across Iowa were invited to compete at the Iowa Restaurant Association’s State Mixology Championships held September 6th at Vivian’s Diner & Drinks in Des Moines. Cedar Falls Mixologist Ingrid Folker from Whiskey Road was named this year’s champion.
Each competitor prepared three distinct drinks for a panel of professional judges. The first was a variation of a classic cocktail, the second was a freestyle cocktail, which featured a Sazerac Spirit. The third was a creation on the fly with a spirit assigned by the judges. Competitors were rated on the taste, appearance, garnish, creativity and presentation. Later in the evening, the drink’s samples were prepared for the public who voted in a People’s Choice Competition.
 Folker’s tasty take on the cocktails, like her Total Saz cocktail with a twist of lemon, gave her the edge over her competitors as she poured her way to the winner’s circle.
Runner-up Nick Throckmorton from Hello Marjorie in Des Moines also impressed judges with his skills and personality. Shane Simmons from Splash in Des Moines, won the People’s Choice Award with his signature cocktail, Big Easy Layover.
“The talent, innovation and flavor profiles presented by Iowa’s mixology contenders impressed the judges and public,” said Director of Marketing and Association Development for the IRA, Stacy Kluesner. “It is a great season to go out and explore Iowa’s mixology scene.”
###
Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.
Media Contact:
Josephine Jensen
Public Relations Specialist
319-464-0766
Industry News
, IRA Press Information
, Press Release
/
September 5, 2018

2018 Iowa Hospitality Industry Award Winners Showcase Talent From Across The State

POST DETAILS
DATE
September 5, 2018
AUTHOR
September 6, 2018, Des Moines, IA- On October 8th the Iowa Restaurant Association will host its Annual Celebrating Excellence Industry Awards Ceremony at the Des Moines Marriott. This year’s winners are a diverse group from across state. They will be honored for their creativity, business acumen, philanthropy, mentorship and leadership. Restaurants were nominated by the industry and public. Winners were selected by a panel of industry leaders.
2018 Award Winners
 
Restaurateur of the Year 
Chef Benjamin Smart, Executive Chef
Big Grove Brewery, Solon & Iowa City
Pullman Bar & Diner, Iowa City
St. Burch Tavern, Iowa City
Chef of the Year 
Chef Aaron Holt,  Executive Chef/Co-General Manager, RoCA, Des Moines
Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year
Holly Hintz, Pastry Chef/General Manager, Créme Cupcake + Dessert, Des Moines
Restaurant Employee of the Year
Shayna Watts, Assistant Manager, Fresh Mediterranean Express, Waukee
American Dream Award of the Year
Chef Aman Razadan, Owner/Executive Chef, Hemispheres Bistro, Bettendorf
Purveyor Partner of the Year
Linda Funk, Executive Director, The Soyfoods Council, Ankeny
Industry Champion
Krista Kay, Go Fish Marina Bar & Grill, Princeton
ProStart Educator of Excellence
 Joan Stekl, ProStart Educator, Washington High School, Cedar Rapids
ProStart Mentor of the Year
Drew Beck, Division President, Reinhart Foodservice, Cedar Rapids
Small Community Restaurant Neighbor Philanthropist
Unc’s Cheesecakes, Jessica Baldus Osage
Large Community Restaurant Neighbor Philanthropist
Gusto Pizza, Joe McConville, Josh Holderness & Tony Lemmo, Des Moines
Legislator of the Year
Representative Brian Best, Iowa’s 12th District, Glidden
Legislator of the Year
Senator Mike Breitbach, Iowa’s 28th District, Strawberry Point
The Awards Ceremony is part of a “full-day of hospitality fun” presented by the Iowa Restaurant Association. It will kick off with a keynote address from Joe Essa, President of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. The Association will then host an Industry Expo and education series. The Hospitality Awards Ceremony will kickoff the evening celebrations followed by a cocktail reception and Gala featuring the Association’s Annual Culinary competitors, live music, wine, beer and spirit samples.  The Gala event is open to the public. Tickets are available for $50 at www.restaurantiowa.com.
###
Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.
Media Contact:
Josephine Jensen
Public Relations Specialist
515-276-1454
Industry News
, IRA Press Information
, Press Release
/
September 5, 2018

G Migs 5th Street Pub Chef in West Des Moines Wins Healthiest Competition at 2018 Iowa State Fair

POST DETAILS
DATE
September 5, 2018
AUTHOR
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 – West Des Moines, IA Top Chefs Wow the Crowd The competing chefs were challenged to make salad dressing recipes which used Mori-nu Soft Silken Tofu as the base of the dressing, were consumer friendly, gluten-free and delicious enough to put on a restaurant menu. Each chef demonstrated the process of making the dressing and then served four judges as well as a crowd of fair-goers. Migliero Wins Champion: Chef Migliero took home the gold with an orange walnut tofu dressing over a mixed local greens salad. Other competing chefs included: 2nd Place: Chef Jessi Dolson, Barley’s Bar & Grill in Council Bluffs, IA – Orange ginger soy shrimp salad 3rd Place: Tyler Kubiak, Hy-Vee Market Grille, Waukee -Lemon Mint Tofu Dressing 4th Place: Chef Joe McConnville, Gusto Pizza Des Moines – Creamy pesto with balsamic All participants received cash prizes. Contest judges included Soy producer and IA Soybean Association board member, Jeff Frank, Food blogger Cristin Clark with Food & Swine, Reporter Ben Oldach with WHO TV 13 and Chef John Andres with the Iowa Culinary Institute. All of the chefs’ recipes are available online at both the Iowa Restaurant Association and The Soyfoods Council websites: www.restaurantiowa.com and www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.

###

The Soyfoods Council The Soyfoods Council is an affiliate of the Iowa Soybean Association. The mission of The Soyfoods Council is to serve as a catalyst, leader and facilitator to mainstream soy-based foods into the global marketplace-America and beyond. www.thesoyfoodscouncil.comIowa Restaurant Association The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s industry with educational and promotional programs across the state. www.restraurantiowa.com Media Contact: Josephine Jensen Public Relations Specialist jjensen@restaurantiowa.com 515-276-1454