Kevin Davies (one of our owners) and the culinary department rolled out a program last month that I’m a really big fan of. They organized a culinary competition for our hourly kitchen staff. (Click here for the video) I’ve spoken with chefs in our company once or twice about the amount of creative freedom we get in the brewery and a lot of them seem envious. We’re working with just four ingredients in our brewery and all four are available year-round. So it’s easy for our bosses to give us a pretty long leash on the styles we create. Our kitchen has to be a little more regimented though, in order to provide consistency we offer our guests at a reasonable price. I love our menu here as is evidenced by my belly, but I’m always amazed at what our individual chefs and sous chefs come up with when they’re let to run free at one of our beer dinners.
It’s also about the recognition. We brewers have the Great American Beer Fest and the World Beer Cup, but our chefs aren’t often in competitions. You know that Iron Hill isn’t just about the beer. We’ve got incredible food and service here. But there are a lot more restaurants out there than there are breweries, so the brewery aspect of Iron Hill tends to draw attention. So it’s really nice to see the folks in the whites getting some time in the spotlight. Now we just have to come up with a front-of-the-house competition!