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Diamond Jo chef becomes three-time winner of Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance

Diamond Jo Casino's Executive Chef Jon Nelson was named Chef Par Excellence for the third time at the Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2016 Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance competition on Jan. 25 in Des Moines.

Nelson, who serves as executive chef for Diamond Jo Casino, took home the top prize in IPPA's 30th annual culinary contest at the Des Moines Marriott, and previously took home the honor in 2013 and 2012. Nelson earned a plaque and $1,000 for his latest pork creation: "Ad Porc de Trois." The win also earned Nelson a trip to the National Pork Summit in St. Helena, Calif., this spring.

Nelson's winning dish features cottage ham, glazed pepper shoulder bacon, smoked herb sausage, stone-ground cheese grits, braised leeks and roasted sweet corn. The pork medley is accompanied by fried Brussel sprouts, basil, and fresh arugula tossed in a sambal vinaigrette.

Ten chefs from around Iowa competed this year, with a requirement by the IPPA to use Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder in their entrée creations. The winning pork dishes were selected on the basis of taste, appearance and originality.

Judging this year's competition were Chef Brad Scott, culinary instructor and head chef at Scott Community College; Chef Jonathan Cook, executive sous chef of the Iowa Events Center; and Matt Unger, program manager with the Food Bank of Iowa. The evening reception was emceed by WHO Radio's Bob Quinn.

The event also served as a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Iowa's Backpack program. IPPA encouraged guests to make monetary donations with that total matched by the association, plus $1,500. The food bank program received a total donation of $2,826.

Nelson has not only competed in the event three times, but he has also been recognized all three occasions. He has worked at Diamond Jo since 2006 and has been working in the culinary industry for more than 30 years.

Diamond Jo Casino is owned and operated by Boyd Gaming Corporation, a leading diversified owner and operator of 22 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey. Boyd Gaming press releases are available at Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at

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