What: Iron Bartender Finals
Where: Backstreet Cafe
The scoop: Inspired by The Periwinkle Foundation's popular Iron Sommelier fundraiser, Iron Bartender sought to crown the city's best bartender. A panel of judges narrowed the field of 20 candidates to four finalists: Jose Santiago, BCN Taste & Tradition; Garrett Jones, Johnny’s Gold Brick; Kristine Nguyen, Nancy’s Hustle; and Carlos “Chino” Serrano, Xochi.
To determine a winner, each finalist prepared a cocktail to pair with a dish created by James Beard Award winner Hugo Ortega as part of a four-course meal served to VIP attendees. At the end of the night, Serrano emerged as the winner.
More importantly than the competition itself, the event raised $45,000 to benefit the Periwinkle Foundation's camp, arts, and survivor programs that annually touch the lives of more than 14,000 children, teens, and families battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
While the competition took place on Backstreet Cafe's second floor, attendees who stayed downstairs enjoyed cocktails from sponsors such as Four Roses, WhistlePig, and Hendrick's Gin while snacking on bites provided Monkey's Tail, Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue, Reveille Barbecue, Gatlin's BBQ, and Roegels Barbecue, which presented its new whole-hog barbecue that's inspired by owners Misty and Russell Roegels' recent trip to the Carolinas.
Major applause to the night's organizers, especially Sean Beck, beverage director for Backstreet owners H-Town Restaurant Group, on pulling off such a successful first-year event. We can't wait for next year.
Who: Doug Suggitt, David Steinhart, Elizabeth and Anthony Garcia, Chris and Jane Harris, Cat Nguyen, Linda Salinas, Paul and Rhonda Gerson, Cheryl Gibbs, and Lindsay Heffron.