S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners

Jennifer Kim - Sophie Gayot
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.

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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
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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S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party

Gary Danko, Jake Hanover, Almost Famous Chef past winners, Almost Chef Competitors
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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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

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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