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
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.

 

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2011 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party” »

S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

The winners of the 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition
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.

 

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners” »

S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket

hatsup
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.”

 

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2010 Almost Famous Chef Competition Mystery Basket” »

Young Knifes in Competition

S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna ice sculptures
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…

2009 Almost Famous Chef Competition

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

  Continue reading “2009 Almost Famous Chef Competition” »