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Iron Chef crown goes to Bagwell

South Boston News
Participants in the first-ever Iron Chef contest held Saturday at the Halifax Farmers Market. Winner of the title was Mary Bagwell of Southern Plenty, fourth from left. / September 10, 2018

Mary Fletcher Bagwell, owner of Southern Plenty in downtown South Boston, took the prize as Halifax County’s first-ever “Iron Chef” in good-natured — and tasty — competition with four other local cooks on Saturday.

The Halifax event was sponsored by the Town of Halifax Farmers Market, Hudson Heritage Farms and Halifax County Tourism as the kick-off to the third annual Halifax County Restaurant Week, taking place this week.

Other participants in the Iron Chef contest were Joshua Henry, kitchen manager at Molasses Grill in Halifax where he has worked for nine years; Victoria Worley, culinary arts teacher at Halifax County High School, a job she says has been the most rewarding of her life; Ginger Hamlett of The Packhouse, located on Main Street, Halifax, where she has been the cook for the past several years; and Aaron Smith, also of Molasses Grill, who has enjoyed varied career in several restaurants before moving to Halifax, where he enjoys cooking traditional southern cuisine with a Mediterranean twist.

On Thursday, each of the contestants was provided with locally-sourced ingredients to prepare a three-course meal.

Their entries were judged by a four-member panel of judges, who tasted all of the recipes before declaring a winner after an hour-long debate of presentation, creativity and taste.

As the winner, Bagwell received a $200 cash prize and a gift pack valued a $350.

A big crowd of onlookers and well-wishers watched the chefs demonstrate their culinary skills in the parking lot of farmers market, waiting until after 2 p.m. to learn who the winner of the Iron Chef title would be.

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