The Springs Restaurant


Fanshawe’s “Iron Chef” Winner

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Iron Chef Andrew Wolwowicz brings home bacon

By Joe Belanger, The London Free Press

Last week, Wolwowicz, executive chef at the Springs Restaurant on Springbank Dr., won Fanshawe College’s annual Iron Chef competition that pairs top second-year culinary management students with some of London’s top chefs for a day.

Other chefs involved, selected on a first-response basis after an invitations were sent to about 30 restaurants, included Dacha Markovic of Kantina Cafe and Restaurant on Talbot St. who finished second, Eric Neaves of the Only on King, who finished third, as well as Matt Rice of the Black Trumpet, Chad Stewart of Garlic’s and Trevor Stephens of the Idlewyld Inn and Spa.

“You get the bragging rights, but they’re all very talented chefs,” said Wolwowicz.

“I thought it was just great and the students get to see the fun the chefs can have. It’s a nice friendly place. There’s huge respect in that room among the chefs, whether you win or lose.”

The judges included Debbie Hass, culinary and apprenticeship placement consultant at Fanshawe; Mike Pitre, president of the London Branch Chefs’ Association; and, Kirk Weiss, executive chef for RiverBend Golf Course.

For the competition, the chefs were given the run of the college’s pantry usually reserved for students in the culinary management program and diners at the program’s Saffron Restaurant.

The secret ingredient for the competition was four different types of bacon, including various types of smoked bacon and pork belly.

“Bacon is fun,” said Wolwowicz, who used two types of bacon and the rendered fat to make his creation, which he called Marinated Black Cod with Glazed Pork Belly, Bacon-roasted Carrots, Triple-cooked Potato Batons and a Pan Jus Buerre Blanc.

“Bacon goes with everything. And I love that fish (black cod), the texture, the butteryness of it which lends itself real well to bacon.”

Wolwowicz said he thinks the competition is very important for students.

“It gets back to the basic premise that once you understand theory, then you can expand (on recipes) with comfort,” said Wolwowicz.

“But, like jazz music, you can’t play it unless you know your chords and scales.”

Wolwowicz urged amateur chefs at home not to fear experimenting and using their creativity with recipes.

“When I teach cooking, I always tell my students to take a pencil and mark the ‘watch points’ where they can adapt or change a recipe.

“So, have fun with it so you can make it your own. That’s the fun of cooking. Put your mark on it.”

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Marinated Black Cod with Glazed Pork Belly, Bacon-Roasted Carrots, Triple-Cooked Potato Batons and a Pan jus Buerre Blanc