The fourth annual Iron Vintner Challenge, which took place throughout the month of June 2013 at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, raised more than $29,000 for Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. The money will support its mission to improve the bodies, minds and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy.
Lisa Baer of Baer Winery ultimately won the competition, beating out her fellow winemakers Tyson Schiffner of Betz Family Winery, Tracey LaPierre of DiStefano Winery and Chris Peterson of Avennia.
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 Holly Smith of Café Juanita, KING5 features reporter Christie Johnson, Chef Josh Henderson of Skillet Dining, CEO of Chateau Ste. Michelle Ted Baseler, and Seattle rap sensation and local foodie, Sir Mix-a-Lot. 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 also featured a live auction led by Auctioneer David Silverman to benefit 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," said Kathy Alm, executive director, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. "Chef Bobby Moore and the entire crew at Willows have our heartfelt appreciation.”
Next year, the fifth and final year of Iron Vintner Challenge, the plan is to showcase an all-star lineup of past IVC winners - Darby English of Darby Winery, Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery, Morgan Lee of Covington Cellars and Lisa Baer of Baer Winery - in an ultimate championship competition.”