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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Judging the S.Pellegrino ALMOST FAMOUS CHEF Competition

Wow.  I was honored to be asked to participate as a judge for this competition.  Along with Eli Kirshtein from Top Chef and Meridith Ford from the Atlanta Journal & Constitution (esteemed food critic) and with some other great people,  we spent all afternoon watching 8 competitors battle it out for the coveted "Almost Famous Chef" title - and the winner we chose would then compete nationally in Napa Valley - representing the southeast.  The finalist chefs were from all over the southeast and came here to the Art Institute of Atlanta Culinary School to see who was the best of the best.
All afternoon the judges watched carefully as all 8 competitors nervously prepared their dishes by themselves within a 90 minute time frame.  It was so cool to watch!!  I was a "media judge" which meant I was specifically focusing on their presence and composure and delivery.  I had to ask them questions about their inspiration behind their dishes and even their lives, and had to judge them according to their communication skills and composure.  In the end,  a deliciously talented young guy named Timothy DeVore is on his way to Napa!  He was my top pick from the beginning.  The winning dish picture is below:  Sumac seared duck breast, braised duck leg, parsnip puree, and bull’s blood microgreens.  (yep. bull's blood.)

It's funny,  I'm not a chef  (like Eli)   I'm not a food critic (like Meridith) and I don't run restaurants (like a couple other judges)  .....  I interview all those people instead.  So to be a Judge for an important culinary competition was definitely a new element for me to experience.  It didn't help that something happened to my registration info and I was the only judge at the official table with a hand-written name tag thingy.    Yeah.  That was professional.  But since I recieved a fabulous knife set as my parting gift .... I guess I'll forgive S.Pellegrino.

Lastly,  just want to give a shout out to Cris Martinez of CBS, Eat It Atlanta blogger, Aaron at Sotto Sotto, Sean at McCrady's, Robert of Charleston, and of course the lovely Meridith of AJC and Eli Kirshtein of Top Chef. 

-- This was at the end of a long day.  Me, Meridith Ford, and Cris Martinez.
And it's a wrap!!

1 comment:

  1. very exciting. i watched several episodes of chopped when i was home with my parents over the holidays....seems like this was a similar deal.