2009 Almost Famous Chef Competition

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.

 The winners are:

– “Overall Winner”: David Awad, from Connecticut Culinary Institute

– “Mystery Basket”; David Awad, from Connecticut Culinary Institute

– “Signature Dish”: Kendra Orng, from International Culinary School at The Art Institute California, Los Angeles

– “People’s Choice”: Joe Branton, Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College.

You can click on each photo to enlarge. (All photos by Sophie Gayot)