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.
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.
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.