Miami’s Iron Fork 2013 Disaster

Who: Iron Fork

What: From the Miami New Times website “General Admission Ticket includes entry into the event at 7pm. Included in the price is unlimited food sampling and entertainment. Spirits, wine and beer will be available for purchase. VIP Ticket includes entry into the event one hour earlier at 6pm and entry into the VIP Lounge. Included in the price is unlimited food, wine, spirit/beer sampling, and entertainment.” and “During the event, we will be featuring a live chef competition. Two chefs will be presented with a basket of food and a secret ingredient and will cook a dish in a mini kitchen set-up to see who will win the title of Iron Chef.”

Where? The beautiful Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Here is my take on what really happened before Iron Fork took place last week.  A while back a group of event planners got together and the meeting “must have” gone something like this:

HGIC (Head Genius in Charge): “OK everyone, let’s discuss new and refreshing ideas for the 2013 Iron Fork event! Lets begin with the VIP portion. Anyone?”

GENIUS #1: “Ooh, ooh, I know! Let’s sell VIP tickets. Then, we can set up the entrance in a special location so that everyone can wait in full summer sun. In order to top that, this being a Miami event and all, let’s not open exactly at 6. Oh no, Cuban time baby! Vitamin D is good for you y’all! Everyone looks better plastered in sweat no?”

GENIUS #2: “Oh yeah? I can top that! Then, let’s set up the VIP lounge (with included beverages) inside an auditorium. Ticket holders can then walk down treacherous slippery steps in complete darkness (gotta have vibe after all) to make a line and get the tiniest of pours of the crappiest wine. Then they can repeat. With any luck, wine will get spilled and people will fall. Now we are talking!”

GENIUS #3 “My turn! My turn! You know the contest between the 2 chefs?  Lets NOT take advantage of this venue with actual theater space. Instead of holding the contest where guests can get a birds eye view in a theatre, lets set them UP on a stage and people can look up from the floor they are STANDING on and GUESS what they are doing.  Instead of a dark auditorium where screens can be set up to offer more detail, lets set up the screens in full sun too so that you can guess what’s showing on them as well. No worries, there will be a host talking you through it….maybe. Oh yeah, you feeling me?”

GENIUS #4 “I have an even better idea. This one will tie all of these wonderful ideas together. Wait until you hear this one! We can pack the majority of the restaurants and vendors under ONE tent. Everyone loves to be packed like sardines right? Then, in the remaining VAST space under a/c we can scatter 3 restaurants here and 3 others over there. In between, guests can take turns once again GUESSING who is on what floor and taking multiple elevator rides to figure it out. It will be like an adult game of hide and seek. This is just too good to pass up.”

HGIC (Head Genius In Charge): ” I am very impressed with these ideas. They are sure to be crowd pleasers. I can’t believe we never came up with these before! This will be the BEST EVENT EVER! All of this before 7:00pm even rolls around? Wow. By the time general admission opens, the line will surely go around the block what with all those tickets we oversold and all. I love me an “elbow room only” event. I think I need to go take a nap from all that we have accomplished here today. It’s not easy being this good.”

I will never return to this event.  It was a complete waste of my money. I don’t expect this to be anything like SOBEWFF’s Best of the Best (which is just simply amazing) but my goodness, the mistakes made here were monumental and just simply ridiculous! In addition, while I was initially excited to have many seafood options (since I’m now a pescatarian), I found it tiring that most restaurants only offered ceviche or seared tuna. After the 5th ceviche, I was eagerly searching for something else. Kudos to The Local House and MPP for having the best ones of the night. Who doesn’t love a spicy ceviche topped with “mariquitas”? Also, bravo to old school Anacapri for shining with their pear fiocchi. I guess there’s a reason they have been around for so long. City Hall shined with their bread pudding.

Needless to say, I happily walked out by 8:00pm and never looked back. By then, I had confirmed that I must have signed up for the wrong event since alas, I had zero interest in being part of a suffocating mob experiment.


The very dark VIP area.


The food tent BEFORE 7pm.


The Local House’s delicious ceviche. Can you see the “mariquitas”?


The sunlit “guess what the chefs are cooking” area.