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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2013 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners
kristen thibeault sophie gayot 300x242 S.Pellegrino 2013 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

2013 Almost Famous Chef competition winner Kristen Thibeault with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


The winners of the 11th S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition, held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., have just been announced.


During two challenges, The Mystery Basket yesterday, and The Signature Dish today, ten competitors had to prove to the judges that they can cook. The chef judges were Rick Moonen, Tony Mantuano, Jean Joho (2012 GAYOT.com Best Restaurateur in the US), Michel Richard, Susur Lee, and Mark McEwan; the media judges Dana Cowin, Mitchell Davis, Jacob Richler, Betsy Andrews, and me.

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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners
sophie gayot jennifer kim 300x200 S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

2012 Almost Famous Chef winner Jennifer Kim with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


The winners of the 10th edition of the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition, held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., have just been announced.


During two challenges, The Mystery Basket yesterday, and The Signature Dish today, ten competitors had to prove to the judges that they can cook. The judges were Eric Ripert, Gary Danko, Jean Joho and Michel Richard (all of whom are chefs at one of GAYOT.com’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.), as well as Jody Adams, Tony Mantuano, Bob Hurley, Susur Lee, Adam Rapoport, James Oseland, Lucy Waverman and me.

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners” »



  • pinitbutton 2012 S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket
the judges 300x155 2012 S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket

The judges (from left to right): Sophie Gayot, Jean Joho, Susur Lee, Jody Adams, Eric Ripert, Adam Rapoport, Tony Mantuano, Gary Danko, Michel Richard and Lucy Waverman

by Sophie Gayot


Today was The Mystery Basket challenge of the 2012 S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. For the 10th edition, the ten competitors discovered veal and black kale in the “mystery basket.” They had two hours to create a dish with those two ingredients. The competitors were then presented to the judges (I am one of them) by TV personality Jake Hanover. Each one was given the opportunity to explain their entrée.

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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party
sophie gayot jake hanover 300x142 S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party

Chef Gary Danko (behind Sophie Gayot, left), Jake Hanover (right), Almost Famous Chef past winners, Almost Chef 2012 Competitors

by Sophie Gayot


Tonight marked the beginning of the 10th edition of the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition. The ten finalists, who will compete Saturday and Sunday, were presented to the judges.


Along with judges Eric Ripert, Gary Danko, Jean Joho and Michel Richard (all of whom are chefs at one of GAYOT.com’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.), as well as Jody Adams, Tony Mantuano, Susur Lee, Adam Rapoport and Lucy Waverman, I will get to judge the finalists during two different challenges: The Mystery Basket and The Signature Dish. We will be spending the next two days in the kitchen of The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California.

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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2011 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners
the winners 300x197 S.Pellegrino 2011 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

From left to right: Elizabeth Freer, Emma Louth, Jean-Francois Daigle, Sophie Gayot, Marco Bahena

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;

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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2011 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party
sophie gayot michel richard 300x163 S.Pellegrino 2011 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party

From left to right: Jean Joho, Brooke McDougall, Sophie Gayot, Michel Richard, Fabio Viviani, Dana Cowin, Bonnie Ster, Ralph Pagano

by Sophie Gayot


This is the third year that I have had the honor and pleasure of being asked to be one of the judges at the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. Held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., the 9th edition of the young chef competition will start tomorrow. Incredibly, three of the other judges are chefs whose restaurants we named among our 2011 Top 40 Restaurants in the US: Gary Danko, Michel Richard, and Jean Joho of Everest. The other judges include chefs Tony Mantuano of Spaggia in Chicago, Brooke McDougall of Bymark in Toronto, and Rick Moonen of RM Seafood in Las Vegas.

 

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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners
sophiegayotalmostfamouschefwinner 300x251 S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

The winners of the 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition

by Sophie Gayot

 

After four hours of tasting yesterday for The Mystery Basket, two hours today for The Signature Dish, and one hour of voting and deliberation, the results are in for the 2010 S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition.

 

Many of S.Pellegrino’s representatives, including President & CEO Stefano Agostini, made the trip to Napa Valley for the finals, not only to congratulate the winners but also to see how to extend to competition worldwide.

 

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  • pinitbutton S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket
hatsup 265x300 S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket
The first part of the competition is over; hats up!

By Sophie Gayot

 

 

Part one of the S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition, held for the eighth time this year, is The Mystery Basket competition. The rules are very strict (there is a full page of them), but the basics are that the eleven contestants have 2 hours to create a dish with the featured ingredients and prepare 10 identical plates to be served to the judges. This year’s mystery ingredients were organic chicken, mushrooms and eggs. The contestants—all chefs in training— had a long list of other produce they were allowed to use, including flavors from the “Asian pantry,” the “Mediterranean pantry” and the “Latin pantry.”

 

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05

Mar

  • pinitbutton Young Knifes in Competition
sophiegayotspellegrino 245x300 Young Knifes in Competition

S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna ice sculptures

by Sophie Gayot

I am reporting from Yountville, California, in the beautiful Napa Valley, where I am working as one of the judges for the 8th annual S.Pellegrino® Almost Famous Chef® Competition. The eleven finalists, winners of regional competitions that included for the first time Italy, Mexico and Puerto Rico, were presented to the judges at tonight’s opening reception. We were able to get a first glimpse at their personalities as we all sipped local wines and enjoyed food from Bardessono, one of our 2010 choices for Top 10 New Restaurants in the country.

 

Tomorrow the real judging begins, as we’ll get to try their cooking. Good luck to the young culinary school students who will express their talent during the weekend of competition. Come back tomorrow for more…



  • pinitbutton 2009 Almost Famous Chef Competition
sophiegayotgailsimmons 300x256 2009 Almost Famous Chef Competition

Judges Gail Simmons from Bravo's Top Chef and chef Michel Richard with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Well I told you I would keep you posted of what happened during the 7th “Almost Famous Chef” competition by Nestlé Waters North America under the Acqua Panna that took place in St. Helena, California on March 7th and 8th 2009.

Below are pictures of the “Signature Dish” competition, held on the second day, with the ten contestants prepping in the kitchen and showing us their creations before we judged them. With just a sous chef from The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, they had just four hours to cook two hundred plated tasting portions. to help

I was a judge along with eighteen others, including chef Michel Richard from Citronelle, and Gail Simmons, a regular judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. Hundreds of guests also got to taste and vote for the “People’s Choice” winner.

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