Following A Contestant

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[youtube id=”WSKJX7CIkzc”] 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. I had the opportunity to follow Jessica, who cooks at one of Top 40 US Restaurants. She also has worked at Providence with Michael Cimarusti in Los Angeles, another Top 40; The Fat Duck in England; and at (the unfortunately defunct) Bastide in West Hollywood, so you can imagine the level of competition. The contestants 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). Largey’s interpretation became “foie gras, chestnuts braised with bay leaf, butternut squash purée and reduced consommé, lentil tuile, lentil agar with fried lentils, lemon confit, and purslane to garnish.” Despite all of the stress on her, as well as jet-lag and differences in languages, equipment and ingredients, Largey overcame the odds and finished second! Watch our exclusive video interview with Largey before, during and after the competition. Congratulations, Jessica! You can click on each photo to enlarge. All photos by Sophie Gayot.