Participated in Culinary Competitions?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by layjo, Sep 17, 2000.

  1. layjo

    layjo

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    I was wondering if any chefs or cooks have participated in any Culinary Competitions lately. I myself have not entered in one, but have assisted a chef in one. It was "The Taste of Elegance" Pork Competition about two years ago. Well, I take it back, I did enter in the Alize Culinary Mentorship Competition about a year ago. (Was glad that I at least made one of the twelve finalist.) Now that I have a more creative thinking mind with food I've been getting more interested in these competitions!

    [This message has been edited by layjo (edited September 17, 2000).]
     
  2. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I love competing....it is the best fun and comradery. It's great to see what other people are making and what the judges are looking for. I try to compet a couple times a year. the simpliest recipes took the taste of Elegance here....the chef Brian Berstein went to the finals.
     
  3. nick.shu

    nick.shu

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    i havent yet, but ive treating module exams as competition.

    Ive had some interesting ideas and wouldnt mind trying them.
     
  4. chefjohnpaul

    chefjohnpaul

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    About 9 years ago I entered the California Seafood Challenge, I was up against some pretty stiff competition, although at the time I didn't really know who I was up against. I placed 4th, one of the judges told me I would have come in 3rd but my last minute dessert was lame. After realizing the first three spots went to Raymond Salladarre who used to be at MAXIM'S, Elka Gilmore of ELKA, and Brian...er, anyhow now one of Roy Yamaguchi's top Chef's I don't feel so bad. I mean what was a snotty nose line cook doing there anyhow? Sometimes you just have to do your best, and sometimes it's better not to completely know the status of your competition, that way you can just stumble around like an idiot and not be intimidated. (Boy, looking back, was my area a MESS!)Happy cooking!
     
  5. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    So True! I didn't have a restaurant or a staff for that matter when I entered the Mardi Gras contest. Ritz Carlton flew in LIVE crawfish adn crabs, did 3 courses, there was a chef that did an Ice carving, geeze I just made 1 dish and had an interesting table setting......I came in 2nd...behind the Ritz.
     
  6. layjo

    layjo

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    Has anybody ever done a Mystery Basket Competition? They seem kind of interesting, because you really have to be creative with this type of competition. I think I would like to try it out. And also what were the courses you prepared for the competitions chefjohnpaul and shroomgirl, if you don't mind. The entree that the Chef (I assisted) prepared got third place in Houston "Taste of Elegance". It was "Warm Harvest Pork Salad w/ Mango Basil Vinaigrette. Apple wood smoked pork loin stuffed with brandy macerated dried fruits and macadamia nuts paired with a medley of field greens dressed with a Mango basil Vinagrette.
     
  7. chefjohnpaul

    chefjohnpaul

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    Shroomgirl, you should have seen Elka Gilmore's enterage, I was thinking who in the world is this, then when I saw her food I thought this must be somebody. I later met her again at the CIA Greystone and I told her my perspective of that day and we had a laugh. Layjo, I'm trying to remember what I did, there was a mystery basket that you had to work up a soup, appetizer, and bonus dessert, the entree' is what you came prepared to do. Mine was a grilled swordfish filled with mousseline with scallion oil & balsamic emulsion, oils were just coming into vouge at the time. I did a seafood bisque, saute'ed calamari, and a thrown together sabayon for dessert that probably cost me half the points I gaind on the other stuff (it was pretty pathetic.) Actually the winner was not Elka, it was Raymond Salladarre with a really nice stuffed sqiud.
     
  8. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    My first year I made sweet potato crepes with a bourbon (Makers Mark) cream cheese filling and a roasted praline sauce

    The setting had flowers in a clear vase with 7-up to keep the dubloons and beads bobbing

    Year 2 I made Shrimp Creole Arincini
    boiled shrimp in Zatarans made a shrimp stock used the NewOrleans trinity for the risotto base coarsely chopped the shrimp and added to the risot and rolled around Mozzerella breaded lightly fried served on a fresh creole sauce...

    Table had a fresh tower mosaiac of La. Mardi Gras colored veg....baby eggplants, lemons, okra on a styraform cone in a brass pot with a head of garlic on top and purple kale lining the form....I interspured red chilis, thyme, bay leaves Wish now I had taken pictures.

    I was hired 2 years ago to work 1 on 1 in a kosher Jewish house (3 sets of pots and pans)
    3 hours weekly to teach whatever came in a Farmer's CSA bag...subscription usually 12-17 items you never quite know what to expect.
    It has been a wonderful challenge.....That's
    what I do very well. I can look at ingrediants and tell you different things you can do with them or give me a format ie
    what kind of equipment is available, what ingrediants, how many people, what is it that brought them together, etc... Black trumpet duxelle on hot buttered crouton for 600 at the Beard Picnic (2 burners)

    I love the challenge, that's what turns me on. This past weekend I cooked for 45 at a girl scout camp 3 hours from where I live.
    They needed B L D for Sat and brunch on Sun
    Breakfast by 7:30 so they could set off with their bag lunch to hunt shrooms all day. (These are adults, some vegetarian most into good mushroomy foods) Dinner at 5:30 Brunch at 8:30. I made Brioche dough Fri night and bourbon soaked raisin rolls, Black trumpet fritata with light tomato sauce, fruit, yougurt granola. Lunch humus wrap with portabellos artichokes red peppers, an apple, gorp, juice, and butterscotch brownie
    Dinner edemames and crudite with Thai peanut sauce on the tables. Shiitake risotto, shiitake sauce, teryaki chicken, eggplant, wasabi napa slaw, pineapple and bananas sauteed with brown sugar, orange, butter over icecream with ginger icebox cookies.
    Brunch ....more brioche, caramel pecan rolls today,Biscuits on table, Large fruit bowl, yogurt granola, hash browns with chanterelles, poached eggs on english muffins with porcini duxelle (light on porcini), pork(fresh ham) wiht jonathon apples roasted, a savory puff with black trumpets, potatoes, reggiano, onions, thickened cream.
    I've loved working with this group because they book me far in advance and they give me outrageous positive feedback.....So all this out in the woods in a girlscout camp kitchen.
    Pretty fun.
     
  9. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Ok Shroomgirl, were do you work? Because I am coming in for dinner. [​IMG]

    ------------------
    Thanks,

    Nicko
    [email protected]
     
  10. m brown

    m brown

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    Two years ago my restaurant did a taste of Long Island dinner competition. ( haven't done a competition in a while.)
    My dessert won first place. The judges told me they thought the magic was
    in it's simplicity.
    S'mores Tart with Espresso Caramel and Chocolate Bee Hive. Can't
    believe I beat out the ACF and their flying saucer, pulled sugar soufflé
    mousse thingy.

    In college I worked on Boston Food show competitions. No sleep, lots of
    intensity and diet apple slice.
    Won a bronze and memories for a lifetime. Also won a Renshaw Cup for
    Marzipan figurines. Got to go to England. cool.
    I love working on competition pieces because there are so many talented chefs you might not meet otherwise.
    Best advice, keep it simple, clean and go with what you know!

    [​IMG]

    Shroomgirl, your stuff sounds really cool!
     
  11. layjo

    layjo

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    Thanks for shareing all your great posts! As I can see and have seen in the past, we have alot of great-creative culinarians here and hopefully more to come and join in!
     
  12. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Well right now I'm currently market master of Clayton Farmer's Market (YES!!!a visualization come to pass) yesterday was opening day 1000 folks in a 5 hour block. Farmers making 7x their highest take....this is why I've spent the last 6 monthes busting my tail on designing this market with another insane soul.
    I teach public and private classes. Personal chef for two families. Cater on occasion.
    Do classroom nutritional classes for kids.
    So there is no set restaurant....I don't want the hours or headache of staffing.
    I'm pretty much a lone wolf and hire good people when jobs come up. Sorry~
     
  13. layjo

    layjo

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    Has anybody entered in any basic skills competitions? In Houston they use to have a basic skills competition for culinary students every other year at the Southwest Foodservice Expo. You would be judged on the classic cuts and such! I wanted to enter back then, but I never could get away from work....bummer! Thanks for the replies eveyone!
    And congradulations on the grand opening of the Farners Market, Shroomgirl.
     
  14. jim berman

    jim berman

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    The competitions are usually(!) enjoyable. Especially if the entrants aren't too hung up on themselves. I took 2nd place at the National Oyster Cook Off in St. Mary's, Maryland a few years back. It was fun! All the cooks/chefs sat around talkin' food and swapping "war" stories. The competition was more for the judges than for us.
    Just recently I won 1st place in the Australian Range Lamb Competition... as advertised RIGHT HERE at ChefTalk!! I was completely surprised. I generally enter the more unusual categories, with the thought that it will have the least entries. So, I ended up winning the RUMP category. It really isn't the winning, but the fun of really thinking out a recipe based on the parameters that are set, organizing the recipe, superbly executing it and waiting with baited breath for the results.
     
  15. layjo

    layjo

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    Yeah, I saw that advertized here awhile back! Congradulations Jim! Would you mind giving a brief description of your entries in the competitions? And if possible, what were the parameters that were set for the Oyster Competition?
     
  16. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Jim you described it to a T.....Rump of lamb
    boy that hip bone is a bear to cut out.
     
  17. jim berman

    jim berman

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    For the Australian Lamb competition I did "Southern Belle Lamb purses." Basically, I pounded out cutlets of rump, tucked in a mash of sauteed leeks, sweet potatoes and something else (sorry, its been a while). Pulled the edges of the cutlet together and tied it at the top. Braised in red wine (I think) and browned under the broiler. Sorry I forgot so many of the details. For the oyster competition, I did a straight forward Oyster Chowder. Honestly, I didn't think it was prize material, simply because it was so 'plain Jane.' Carrots, onions, turnips, celery, peas, potatoes and corn sauteed into a stock of oyster 'liquor', cream and milk. Roux thickened and voila. I added fresh marjoram as an aromatic towards the last bit cooking time.
    The parameters for the oyster competition were entries in either appetizer, soup, entree categories, I believe. The main ingredient had to be oysters (can you believe it?) and I think that was about it.
     
  18. unichef

    unichef

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    Layjo-

    I have done lots of competitions. I was on the 1992 and 1996 USA Culinary Teams. It was a great experience. I learned so much about cooking during that time. It also gave me a chance to travel all over the world- Switzerland, Franfurt, Munich, Austria, Luxembourg- not to mention all over the US.

    The down side when you compete on that level is that it is a huge sacrifice both personally and professionally. You need to get the backing from your employer and family as well. All the practices are extra curricular activites, usually on your days off, and usually out of town. If your employer doesn't support you, you won't get the time off you need.

    Recipe contests are great and usually have big cash prizes. There are two ways to assure a win with these. First off, when you send in your initial recipe, make sure it is typed out, legible, and written in common foodservice jargon. Believe it or not, half the recipes are not even readable. So right off the bat you've narrowed your your odds by 50%. The second thing is to practice your dish over and over again so that when you get in the final cook-off you look confident and everything goes off without a hitch.

    Mystery basket competiton is the same- practice a lot. I have coached quite a few junior teams and what I do is make up a mystery basket and let them do it from start to finish- over and over. Also keep in mind that you have a common table of ingredients. You should have a menu already planned out before you get there and just adapt it to what is in the mystery box.



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    Mike Bersell, CEC
    [email protected]
     
  19. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    UNichef~ do you know any of the ACF guys from St. Louis? I know Aiden Murphy and Brian Menzel have been active in the olympics.
     
  20. unichef

    unichef

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    Yes, Aiden was the Captain of the Southeast team in 92. Great guy and great chef.