by Sophie Gayot
Nine young American student chefs and one Canadian squared off this weekend at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., during the 9th edition of the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition.
As I was judging the two challenges, along with twelve other judges, I am happy to announce the five winners, presented by Gail Simmons and Ralph Pagano:
– The Overall Winner
Marco Bahena of Kendall College, in Chicago, received a prize of $10,000 and a paid apprenticeship with one of the participating chef judge’s restaurant of his choice;
– The Mystery Basket Winner, held yesterday
Jean-Francois Daigle, of The George Brown Chef’s School in Dieppe, New Brunswick, went home with a $ 3,000 check. He prepared roasted rack of pork with roasted vegetable plin (pasta ravioli), onion and apple compote in natural jus;
– The Signature Dish Winner, held today
Marco Bahena of Kendall College, in Chicago, won his second prize of the competition and an additional $3,000. His signature dish was Mediterranean lamb loin;
– The People’s Choice Winner
Elizabeth Freer, of The Culinary Institute of Charleston, was chosen to win the $3,000 prize by the guests who attended The Signature Dish Competition tasting. She has cooked rabbit two ways: sweet braised rabbit ravioli with a pecan and spice encrusted tenderloin;
– The Acqua Panna Fan Favorite Winner
Online viewers followed the contest via live streaming hosted by executive chef Ralph Pagano of STK Miami, and TV Personality Jake Hanover on Almost Famous Chef’s website. They chose Emma Louth, of Drexel University. Louth received $ 3,000 for her dish named Smoke/Ocean/Prairie, a surf ‘n turf interpretation. And everyone who voted was entered to win a trip for two to the 2012 competition.
Congratulations to all of these young chefs who made the finals after the regional selections! I look forward to seeing you in a restaurant soon.
You can click on the photos to enlarge. All photos by Sophie Gayot.