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.
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Tastes & Saveurs in Mougins, France

by Sophie Gayot

The sixth edition of Les Étoiles de Mougins, Festival International de la Gastronomie et des Arts de Vivre will be held September 16-18, 2011, on The Riviera in the gorgeous village of Mougins (Côte d’Azur, France). After the second edition in 2007, the prestigious event had to limit the number of participating chefs to 100 due to its overwhelming success. The Festival was created by mayor Richard Galy in 2006 to honor chef Roger Vergé who literally put Mougins on the world map with his restaurant and hotel Le Moulin de Mougins. If it sounds familiar, this is where Liz Taylor would hold her “big” AIDS charity dinner during the Cannes Film Festival. Watch the exclusive video interview with Mayor Richard Galy, the man behind the Festival. He wants people to know that Mougins is also a city of art with over 30 galleries and “ateliers d’art” stretching along the small winding and charming streets, and it now has a new Museum of Classical Art.
 

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The Winners Are Double Winners!

The winners, from left to right: Sommelier Mark Sadr, Mixologist Tricia Alley, Sous-chef Alexandre Derenne, Pastry chef Matthieu Chamussy, Culinary Student Mark Wheeler with Sophie Gayot
The winners, from left to right: Sommelier Mark Sadr, Mixologist Tricia Alley, Sous-chef Alexandre Derenne, Pastry chef Matthieu Chamussy, Culinary Student Mark Wheeler with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot
 
I was lucky to be a judge at the Los Angeles Epicurean Festival held today at the Sofitel Los Angeles, as I did not have to stand in line to enter the event. The line stretched from the second floor all the way to the hotel’s driveway. The Festival brought together culinary specialties and wines & spirits for visitors to discover or rediscover. There was also a competition where I had to pick the winning team along with my fellow judges: sommelier Mark Mendoza (Comme Ça), Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Franck Savoy (director of restaurants for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas), Michel Richard (Citronelle) and Michel Cornu (Hospitality Culinary Director for Boisset Estates).

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Finding Christina

by Sophie Gayot


The first time I sampled Christina Machamer’s cooking a few years ago, I told millions of people how disappointed I was. I was a judge on Season 4, Episode 8, of Gordon Ramsay’s hit TV show Hell’s Kitchen, which aired May 20th, 2008, and she was one of the contestants. Among the many dishes I sampled was a pavé of salmon with a warm salad of cucumber, olives, and tomato butter sauce which she prepared that left me unimpressed.

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Cochon 555 Competition in Los Angeles

Cochon 555 2011 LA Winner Chad Colby, chef at Osteria Mozza, with his team and Sophie Gayot
Cochon 555 2011 LA Winner Chad Colby, chef at Osteria Mozza, with his team and Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot
 

UPDATE 5/01/11 : The winner is Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza). See photos from the event below.

 

 

This Sunday, May 1, 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 Octavio Becerra (Palate Food + Wine), Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza), Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Tim Goodell (Public Kitchen & Bar) and Joshua Whigham (The Bazaar). 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.