Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 Pelligrino Almost-Famous Chef People's Choice Awards!

Welcome to the 2010 Pelligrino Almost-Famous Chef People's Choice Awards! Whew, I could use a drink of water after saying all that. This culinary competition was held at the CIA-Greystone campus and included over a dozen of the most promising and talented student chefs in the country and abroad. Ironically, no CIA-based student culinarians were apart of the competition which seemed odd considering our school is hosting the event and the CIA has a pretty good reputation of producing highly-skilled young chefs.
Anyway, the events were hosted by cookbook author and culinary personality (what is that actually?) Katie Lee, and former Hell's Kitchen contestant, Chef Ralph Pagano. Not to knock it, but the setup kind of resembled a Kobe Bryant post-game interview with that huge logo board as the backdrop.
Here are all the dishes that were entered into the competition by the various participants.  Perhaps it would be better if we got a closer look at these and even had a bite or two before we cast our vote for the winner.
Pan Seared Crusted Loin of Lamb.
Bacon wrapped-Halibut.
Chicken Supreme with Cajun Risotto Fritter.
From Student Competitor Timothy DeVore, Sumac Seared Duck Breast with Braised Duck Leg and Juniper Berry Reduction, served with Parsnip Puree, Swiss Chard, Chinese Celery Pesto and Micro Bulls Blood Greens.
From Student Competitor Amanda Digges, she prepared a Cake of Shredded Breast of Cornish Game Hen and Farro, Resting on a Puree of Golden Beets, Topped with a Farro Crisp and a Slice of Sausage, Laced with a Sage & Cognac Jus Lie. Accompanied by a Salad of Walnuts, Cranberries, and Apples nestled in a Brussel Sprout Petal and accented by Mustard Horseradish Micro Greens.
Seared Pork Belly with Crispy Onion Fries.
From Student Competitor Justine de Valicourt, Red Deer Duo served with Mashed Jersusalem Artichoke and Saute of Vegetables.
From Student Competitor Dan Luckey, Seared Ostrich Loin with Glazed Baby Beets, Grilled Black Trumpet Polenta, and Juniper Berry Sauce. Whew, ostrich in a cooking competiton sounds like a difficult sale to me. Bravo for going out on a limb Chef!
All the way from Italy, Student Competitor Laura Torresin produced Seasonal Vegetables, Lentils on Carasau Bread, with Salted Anchovies, Bottarga, Black Pepper and Basil Sauce, Cruncy Sea Bream with a Hot Vegetable Consomme.
From Student competitor Luis Young, Herb Scented Seared Venison Tenderloin with Parsnip Puree and Apple Demi covered by a Cider Jelly Sheet and Accented with a Cinnamon Tea Foam finished with Micro Greens. Oh man, that was pretty good!  Let's go check out who made that!
Of all the dishes, I felt like Luis Young's most captivated my palate. Not only that, the dish had a lot of very technical elements to it that displayed his creativity and technical skill.  I think I am going to give him my vote for the People's Choice Award.
Back to the post-game press conference, I mean awards ceremony.  And the winner is...................
Luis Young from Johnson & Wales University - North Miami! And yes, that check amount is correct, $10,000! Great job Luis and best of luck in your career. It was a pleasure to be a part of the event and taste all of the competitors food. Good show Pellegrino!

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