S.Pellegrino 2012 Almost Famous Chef Competition Launch Party

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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. Some of the past winners made the trip to encourage this year’s competitors. We were able to taste their food during a cocktail reception. And as we are in competition mode, David Awad, the 2009 winner, was serving one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had: fresh tagliatelle with butter, fresh cracked pepper, grana padano cheese and black truffles. Good luck to the ten culinary students!

(Sophie’s hair by byu-ti Hair Therapy Salon)

You can click on the photos to enlarge.