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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.

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2013 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners” »



As Seen on USA TODAY

on July 16th, 2012
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16

Jul

  • pinitbutton As Seen on USA TODAY
kitty bean yancey 300x224 As Seen on USA TODAY

Writer Kitty Bean Yancey at Peter Luger in Brooklyn

by Sophie Gayot


Kitty Bean Yancey, a leisure writer for USA TODAY since 1982, has also developed a passion for food — after dating a Parisian, she says. Frankly, I think it is a good thing.


A few weeks ago, Kitty contacted thirteen of us from the world of food and asked us each to name two of the best steakhouses in the U.S. Here are the finalists from the results: http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2012/07/expert-panel-chooses-best-us-steakhouse-finalists/800433/1

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  • pinitbutton Chef Challenge in Santa Monica, CA
sophie gayot nyesha arrington 229x300 Chef Challenge in Santa Monica, CA

Winning chef Nyesha Arrington with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


Last Saturday, I was at the 21st Santa Monica Festival which this year included a “Food Salon.” Besides local food trucks and cooking demonstrations, there was also a farmers market “Chef Challenge” in which Nyesha Arrington of Wilshire restaurant (who appeared on TV’s Top Chef season 9) and John-Carlos Kuramoto of Michael’s restaurant had fifteen minutes to create a dish using ingredients provided from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and Whole Foods. The dish had to be easy to make, fast and affordable, and good, of course. With the limited facilities on the stage, it could only be cold, so the two chefs each prepared a salad.


I was one of the judges along with Margo True of Sunset Magazine and Josephine Miller of the City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability & The Environment. During the fifteen minutes of preparation, we enjoyed emcee Eddie Lin.

Continue reading “Chef Challenge in Santa Monica, CA” »



  • pinitbutton 2012 Cochon 555 Competition in Los Angeles
sophie gayot ben ford 300x225 2012 Cochon 555 Competition in Los Angeles

2012 Cochon 555 winner chef Ben Ford, his wife Emily, his son Ethan with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

UPDATE 5/06/12 : The winner is Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City. See photos of the event in the gallery below.

Once again, I enjoyed judging the competition!


On May 6, five top LA chefs will each prepare a 175-pound, heritage-breed hog from head to toe for a friendly competition called Cochon 555. This ten-city touring event is the only culinary competition of its kind in the country and will help family farms sustain and expand their businesses. Competing in the LA stop will be Neal Fraser, Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar), Micah Wexler (Mezze) and last year’s winner, Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza). To support the event and its worthy cause, I will be there with other local judges to determine a winner based on presentation, utilization and overall best flavor.
Continue reading “2012 Cochon 555 Competition in Los Angeles” »



  • 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.

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



  • 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.

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



Red, Hot & French

on October 12th, 2011
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12

Oct

  • pinitbutton Red, Hot & French

by Sophie Gayot

 

It was indeed hot during the Amateur Competition at Les Etoiles de Mougins, the 6th Festival International de la Gastronomie recently held in Mougins, France. The sun was shining, so the temperature under the tent was hot, as was the ambience. It became hotter when it came time for the members of the jury — including me — to deliberate, as we did not agree on who should win. Besides myself, the rest of the jury were chefs: Serge Gouloumès (Le Mas Candille), Sébastien Chambru (Le Moulin de Mougins), Christopher Hache (Les Ambassadeurs), Christelle Brua (Le Pré Catelan), Claire Verneuil (contestant on the 2011 season of the French Masterchef TV show), and the President of the jury, Frédéric Anton (Le Pré Catelan), who is also on the jury of the French version of the TV show MasterChef.

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Following A Contestant

on October 03rd, 2011
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03

Oct

  • pinitbutton Following A Contestant

by Sophie Gayot

I previously wrote about attending Les Etoiles de Mougins, the 6th Festival International de la Gastronomie held in Mougins, France, and the professional chef competition. Of the seventy chefs who tried to take part, only five were selected to come to Mougins. Jessica Largey, who is a sous-chef at David Kinch’s Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, California, was the only American and the only woman to make the cut.

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  • pinitbutton Les Espoirs de Mougins 2011: The Winner, Le Gagnant

by Sophie Gayot

This past weekend, the 6th Festival International de la Gastronomie was held in Mougins, France. Over eighty chefs from all over the world made the trip to the south of France to showcase their cuisine during Les Etoiles de Mougins. The highlight of the three days was Sunday’s chef competition.

During the first step, five chefs were selected from a list of seventy: Francis Ogé (a cook in the kitchen at the Elysée Palace), Filipo Fiorentini (Arnolfo restaurant, Italy), Nelson Da Silva (Le Loom, Seignosse), Jessica Largey (sous-chef at David Kinch’s Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.) and Olivier Jean (Le Métropole, Monte-Carlo). They had two hours to prepare a “foie gras cuit servi chaud avec une garniture libre autour de la courge butternut” (warm cooked foie gras with butternut squash based garnish). To make it harder, at the last minute, the jury introduced a mystery ingredient: lentils.
Continue reading “Les Espoirs de Mougins 2011: The Winner, Le Gagnant” »



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