Altoona chef wins culinary contest that kicks off Iowa Pork Congress
Chef Ben Hayes of the Peace of Cake Cafe at the Facebook facility in Altoona took home the first-place honors — or Chef Par Excellence — at the Iowa Pork Producers Association Taste of Elegance competition. This year’s contest, held annually at the beginning of Iowa Pork Congress week, challenged chefs to prepare an entree featuring a single serving of a crown roast of pork. Hayes is in charge of the kitchen at Facebook’s Altoona and Pleasant Hill facilities, where 1,000 employees eat daily. For the Taste of Elegance competition, he prepared East Meets Midwest, which was a crown roast marinated in five spices and slightly charred. The judges selected chef Ken VanMilligen of St. Kilda Surf & Turf in Des Moines for second place; third place and the Media’s Choice Award went to Diego Critelli of the River Center in Des Moines.