by By Jonathan Vatner | July 13, 2009

Iron ChefCooking contests in the spirit of TV's Iron Chef and Top Chef are lots of fun and not hard to pull off. The InterContinental Tampa (866-915-1557; sets up tables in the ballroom with portable stoves, and each team is given a target ingredient (for example, an orange for a Florida-themed event), as well as a protein, like steak or salmon. They then can pick other ingredients -- vegetables, spices, etc. -- from a large shared table. After an hour, a team of judges, including perhaps the executive chef and the president of the organization, taste and comment on the food, then declare a winner.