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Top Chef competition returns to Iowa City March 26

Your favorite restaurants will compete with signature dishes

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UPDATED: 21 January 2014 | 3:55 pm   ::  

For the third year in a row, Top Chef: Iowa City Downtown District is the local culinary event of the spring. Downtown and Northside Marketplace restaurants will prepare signature dishes from some of your favorite restaurants, area mixologists will craft exquisite cocktails -- all for your vote. The title "Top Chef" will be awarded by a panel of culinary experts and all guests can weigh in to determine the People's Choice winner.

The details

Participating Chefs will face off and compete to vie for votes from both judges and guests with one signature dish from their restaurant. New to the event this year is the addition of a Pastry Chef Category that compliments the showcased entrees. Mixologists from Downtown District bars and restaurants will compete for the title of Top Bartender by serving their most creative cocktail. Showcasing their local Iowa brews will be a number of breweries and distilleries.

A People’s Choice award, voted on by all guests in attendance, will be presented to the showcased participants upon the conclusion of the event. In 2001 it was David Wiesenek of the Motley Cow and in 2012 Juan Casco of Mondo’s Saloon.

2013 Top Chef Participants


Culinary Top Chef Category

  • Formosa

  • Takanami

  • Clinton Street Social Club

  • Linn Street Café

  • Share Wine Lounge and Small Plate Bistro

  • Xie Restaurant

  • Fair Grounds Cafe

  • Shorts Burger & Shine

  • New Pioneer Coop


Mixologist Category

  • Formosa

  • Takanami

  • Clinton Street Social Club

  • Linn Street Cafe

  • Pints

  • Share Wine Lounge and Small Plate Bistro

  • Xie Restaurant

  • Shorts Burger & Shine

  • Martinis


Dessert Category

  • The Gluten Free Annex @ John's Grocery

  • Molly's Cupcakes

  • Howling Dogs Bakery

  • New Pioneer Coop

  • Yoptopia Frozen Yogurt


Brewery/Distillery Category

  • Backpocket Brewing

  • John's Grocery

  • Millstream Brewing Company

  • Mississippi River Distilling Company


Judges Panel

  • Executive Director Iowa City Downtown District; Nancy Bird

  • Instructor/Chef Kirkwood Community College Hospitality Arts; Jeremy Ralph

  • Instructor/Chef Kirkwood Community College Hospitality Arts; Brian Kalata

  • Local Entrepreneur and Restaurateur; Jim Mondonaro

  • Executive Producer and Morning Anchor KGAN/KFXA; Jason Vincent

  • Miami Dolphins, Restaurateur, Entrepreneur; Nate Kaeding


The event sold out last year and according to Hoopla food reviewer the event was top notch. Read her summary.



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