Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Iron Chef / Media Competition

This past Sunday, I was invited to compete in a Iron Chef/ Media Competition at the "14Th Annual Hospitality Expo and Culinary Competition". I love a good challenge and this definitely sounded like one. I was going to be paired up with a local radio DJ and required to cook at least 3 dishes in 75 minutes on stage in front of 500 guests. I had to bring all my own equipment and be prepared to cook out of a mystery basket. Now during my career I've had a lot of experience cooking from surprise ingredients mainly for job interviews; so that wasn't too intimidating. The worry was most likely I would end up doing the entire competition by myself because I doubted my partner had any cooking abilities. After talking with him on the phone I was extremely relieved to find out he had once ran a catering business and loved to cook. We strategized about possible ideas and did some segments on the radio to promote the upcoming event. When the day of the event came around, I showed up and started to set up my makeshift kitchen in the middle of the ballroom. As I was setting up, I noticed the other competitors had brought in their own ingredients to assist in the competition. Now I'm a serious competitor and when it comes to a mystery basket, I'm gonna cook directly out of the basket. I didn't bring any basic ingredients to the competition because I was expecting some type of basic pantry to be offered like the rules had states. When I finally realized 10 minutes before it started that there was not going to be any basic pantry ingredients, I rushed through the hotel to find salt and pepper shakers took some packets of sugar from the caddy on a table. Upon opening the box I was surprised to find an abundance of fresh ingredients to work with. There was some nice 16/20 shrimp, a tri-tip roast, citrus fruits, garlic, shallots, asparagus, wild mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, cheeses, strawberries, potatoes, pastas, eggs, and greens. Here is the menu that we put together and ended up winning "Best Use of Ingredients" (mostly because it's all I had to work with).

First Course:
Lemon Poached Shrimp with Tomato Basil Salad

Second Course:
Grilled Asparagus and Wild Mushroom with French Onion Cream and Parmesan Crumbs

Third Course:
Calicrate Steak and Eggs with Wilted Arugula

Fourth Course:
Rosemary Scented Orange and Strawberries with Citrus Crème Fraiche


La Traductora said...

Grilled Asparagus with French Onion Creme With Wild Mushrooms? I'm SWOONING, absolutely SWOONING right now!
Un hermosisimo blog (and informative, too)!

Jackie said...

Everything sounds so great! But, I am not surprised. Congratulations!