Sunday, April 19, 2009

ACF Southeast Regional Convention Food Competition...

As many of you may already know by following my status on facebook, I recently had the honor and opportunity to partake in this past weekends ACF food competition. I entered into two categories, hot food (K4, Lamb Rack) category and cold food (B1 - 6 appetizer courses). With the help from a fellow chef at a local hotel, my main man Mike during slicing and glazing, my patient wife, gallons of coffee and most importantly God, it finally came and went.

I didn't place in either category, meaning I didn't win one medal for my troubles. Well, I did win something, actually, a "Certificate of Completion" for being there with my last name misspelled. It kinda reminded me of a time in second grade when I got one just like it for reading a book for extra credit, but this one cost me about 600 bucks in entry fees and food, lol.

But, as was pointed out on more than one occasion, I got to compete with friends and learn and that's all that matters. Well, sorry folks, learning is important, yes, and competing with your buddy's and fellow chefs that you love and respect is fun, agreed, but we all know that losing two categories in a row after spending about 60 hours cooking, testing, reading, NOT SLEEPING, slicing, glazing and so on, is a pisser. (Sorry, couldn't think of a better word that didn't include an "F" or a "K".)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter (well, actually, I am a little. It's just been 24 hours since I left the convention center, lol). The judges handed me my scrotum in a glass, pretty much, but nothing they critiqued me on was wrong. It's perfection we strive for and they expect it. I deserved everything I got, and that's OK.

Best of all, though, I had a blast making the food, it's what I do as a chef. Making food, whether it be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or pate en croute, making food makes me happy and gives me a little rush every time. But, competing is a whole different realm of culinarianism (is that a word?). This is the food that separates the men from the boys. It's like making my moms mac and cheese for my mom, it's THAT tough. Compare it to trying to cut your own hair with dull scissors without your glasses in a foggy mirror. Sure, it could be done but you have to be a bad ass to impress anyone with the results. Seriously.

Anywho. Thanks to everyone that supported me through this. Overall, I really had a great time and look forward to pulling up my bootstraps and doing another competition very soon! First though, I'm going to go for my certified executive chef exam this June, stay tuned for blogs about that. Meanwhile, check out the menu and some pictures.

Cold food menu:

Poached Salmon and Lemon Terrine with Shiitake Mushroom Soba Noodle Salad and Soy Ginger Glace.

Canapés Assortment: Grilled Smoked Honey-Cured Duck on Parsnip Galette w/ Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette, Trout Mousse in Barquette with Roe and Red Onion Confiture on Potato Blini with Crème Fraiche and Caviar.

Pate de Compagne En Croute w/ Brown Sugar Fig Brulee and Spicy Toasted Walnuts.

Chicken Galantine w/ Pistachios and Dried Cherries, Bourbon Apricot Tart and Balsamic Reduction.

Rabbit Pie in Parmesan Prosciutto Crust, Poached Baby Root Vegetables and Basil Pistou.

Scallop Trio: Scallop Mousse in Cucumber Cups with Brunoise Vegetable Garni, Pan-Seared Diver Scallop with Dill Caper Aioli and Hickory Smoked Scallop Ceviche with Preserved Lemon Dill Marmalade.

Hot food menu:

Lamb Loin Roulade Stuffed with Greek “Loukanika” Sausage, Roasted Baby Root Vegetables, Sweet and Russet Potato Gratin and Rosemary Lamb Demi-Glaze.

And some pictures, just click on anyone to take you to my flickr page to see more show food pictures:







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