Today in St. Helena, California, the first part of the Nestlé Waters North America “Almost Famous Chef” competition under the S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna brands took place at The Culinary Institute of America Greystone. Ten contestants had two hours to prepare a dish with the same set of ingredients, which they were given in a “Mystery Basket”. This year, it was composed of sturgeon, bacon, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, bay leaf and trumpet mushrooms.
I was a judge, as well as eighteen others, in the seventh edition of this top culinary event. And, yes, I had to go through ten versions and interpretations of “Mystery Basket” dishes. They were all very different. There was a cleat winner, but I can’t announce it until tomorrow.