Nick & Nats Uptown 21, (twitter: @NNUptown21 ) THE locavore spot in Kitchener Waterloo is home to delicious local minded cooking but also a very successful Iron Chef competition benefitting the KW Food Bank. Proprietors Nat and Chef Nick believe in local cooking so much so they decided to invite their suppliers and local restaurants to duke it out in their now infamous open kitchen.

Dubbed Iron Chef Uptown is a 8 week race of match ups of top restaurants and cooking schools sending their top talent in hopes of reigning supreme ( had too, sorry ). Every Wednesday starting at 9:30 you can come for $5 to enjoy the spectacle in this great open style kitchen.

Can’t see past everyone? Don’t worry local technology whizzes set up the kitchen so you can sit and watch the kitchen action on two large TV screens. Come to enjoy free popcorn, cocktails, Rosewood Wines or Mill St beers from any spot in the restaurant.

This week’s battle between Conestoga College & Stratford Chefs School was one not to be missed. This weeks secret ingredient was……….. HONEY! Rosewood Honey to be exact which included a wide range of their products: creamed honey, wildflower honey, Nutty Hunny, and even Mead.

Although intense the competition is fun, the crowd knows one another, music is blasting in the background and Nat & Nick share the mic giving us a play by play of whats happening. Tasting & ‘enticing’ the judges is allowed and recommended. Being a judge is quite fun. This week my brother, Will and I were invited to sit in the judges hot seat and got to watch front row what these creative chefs would do with our products.

In the end with Bieber’s “Baby” playing as an “overtime” song, the Stratford Chefs School produced 5 dishes and Conestoga College pushed out 3 dishes. It was a whirlwind of a tasting but some of my favourites from Stratford Chefs School included the double battered deep fried honeycomb with balsamic vinaigrette, & their spectacular mead poached whitefish with brown butter mead sauce, crumble and fresh fiddleheads. Chef Randie from Stratford also created the most beautiful slow poached egg with a honey base. YUM! Standouts from Conestoga College included Wallace’s Shrimp Dumpling in Mead Broth and Chef Bertie’s deconstructed lemon tarte with honey meringue and pearls.

Both teams produced some amazing dishes but in the end the Conestoga Team won. Another great matchup, another great fundraising effort it truly was another great event celebrating local food & the biggest winners the local community.