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Five Central Iowa chefs to compete in Iowa Public Radio's Battle of the Chefs

Iowa Public Radio will host its first-ever Battle of the Chefs on March 27. The event will pit five chefs of varying backgrounds and specialties against each other at West End Architectural Salvage with all those in attendance serving as judges. The battle will be a fundraiser for IPR and will be a new venture for their "Insights" series, as it will incorporate not only people talking about food, but the opportunity for listeners to be there in person to see and taste the food. Tickets to the event are $27.50 apiece, and they may be purchased online through Tikly or by calling 1-800-861-8000. The event will start at 5 p.m. and will include music from Iowa Public Radio's "Studio One" and the opportunity to sample not only the chef's creations, but some craft beers as well. IPR's "Talk of Iowa" host, Charity Nebbe, will be on hand to chat with guests.

Chef Sam Auen of Tacopocalypse will be 1 of 5 competitors at IPR's Battle of the Chefs.
Charles Walton

Battle of the Chefs will feature four chefs from the Des Moines Metro area and one from Ames. The competition will feature Tacopocalypse's Sam Auen, HoQ's Suman Hoque, Le Jardin's Tag Grandgeorge, Embassy Club West's Michael Bailey, and Cupcake Emporium's Tawnya Zerr. It will be interesting to see how Zerr's two runs on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars and Auen's out-of-the-box thinking and experience at Battledish Des Moines 2013 will help them against the three upscale restaurant chefs. If you think they will be at a disadvantage in a competition like this one, don't. The self-taught Auen has worked at some of Des Moines' top restaurants (Centro, Cafe di Scala, Miyabi 9, and Zen, to name a few) and won "Most Creative" at last year's Dishcrawl-sponsored Battledish. Zerr and her assistant produced 1000 Marilyn Monroe-themed cupcakes for Season 9 of Cupcake Wars and had to make 80's-inspired cupcakes using quiche ingredients for Season 8, so she is used to working under pressure. The Cupcake Emporium also serves lunch, so cupcakes are not all that Zerr can make. Heavyweights like Grandgeorge, Bailey, and Hoque will definitely make it difficult for Auen and Zerr, though.

This sounds like a very fun event, so don't miss it Des Moines. Speaking of fun, check out Tawnya Zerr's first audition tape for Cupcake Wars in the embedded video.

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