Seven Of Food Network's 'Iron Chefs' Judge Epic 2017 NYC Wine And Food Festival Showdown

The New York City Wine & Food Festival barnstormed through New York last weekend, bringing with it a massive variety of events big and small. The weekend's main events, a series of big-tent walk-around tastings, were so big that they needed to be held on the roof of a pier overlooking the Hudson River. These included the famed Burger Bash, a facsimile of the popular food market Smorgasburg, and the annual Backyard BBQ. We had the opportunity to attend Saturday night's event, however, and it was one for the ages: the brand new Rooftop Iron Chef Showdown: Battle Autumn Bounty, hosted by Alton Brown.

If you've ever been to a walk-around tasting before, you'd recognize the format of this event: Each restaurant had its own station from which they prepared and served samples of one or two specialty dishes, and the crowds lined up to sample them and wash it all down with wine, beer, and spirits. But there was one big difference: The largest assemblage of Iron Chefs in history sampled all of the dishes and awarded $10,000 to the grand prize winner. At the outset of the event, host Alton Brown introduced the lineup: Jose Garces, Stephanie Izard, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione, Alex Guarnaschelli, Masaharu Morimoto, and Geoffrey Zakarian. The group was so large, in fact, that Brown coined a collective noun for such a congregation of culinary heavyweights: "a thunder of Iron Chefs."

"I'm excited to be a judge of the Rooftop Iron Chef Showdown, instead of a participant!" Izard told us via an email interview prior to the event. "I love the rooftop pier events – there's nothing better than trying new foods from an array of talented chefs, all while you're outside on a beautiful fall day."

The "thunder" judged an array of dishes from 30 different restaurants, including El Vez, Delicatessen, Momotaro, No. 7 Sub, Wagamama, Macchialina, Seabird, Ocean Prime, Bessou, and Mas (Farmhouse), nearly all of which brought their executive chefs along. After sampling each dish on their dais, the team decided that one dessert and one savory dish rose to the top: a carrot and quince turnover from Perrine (which is located inside the Pierre Hotel), and leeks vinaigrette with hollandaise and russet pomme allumette from Le Coq Rico's Antoine Westermann, who was awarded the $10,000 grand prize.

It was a great idea to have so many Iron Chefs judging these dishes, a smart spin on the traditional walk-around tasting format. We won't be surprised if the Rooftop Iron Chef Showdown becomes an annual tradition.