Q&A--Amateur Cooking Competitions
Posted 10 October 2003 - 12:24 AM
Posted 10 October 2003 - 03:06 AM
Interesting stuff. Can I ask how you felt about the 'suggestions' of Bruce Poole? It seems to me that they stifled some of the creativity of your menu, and made it somewhat more restauranty (I think I just made that word up!), and 'safe'.
Also, do you think your success on Masterchef was aided by the fact it was Shaun Hill as the guest chef? Your menu sounds like the sort of thing that would appeal to him - well balanced, fairly simple menu with bold flavours. I have seem some fairly awful things done in the name of presentation on Masterchef (Vegetables cut into the shape of tiny fish - And I think he actually won the whole thing)
They are delicious.
Posted 10 October 2003 - 03:38 AM
I was involved in two televised heats of the Masterchef competition. The menu and recipe produced here are from the regional final which was judged by chef Alex Floyd, then of Leith's restaurant in London. I think he liked the menu partly for the reasons you stated, but also because I had used things like the parmesan crisp and deep fried leeks which he and many other London chefs were also using at the time.
He was also impressed by the fact that I had made a vegetable stock on the day for use in the risotto and the sauce for the fish (he was one of the very few chefs that created a special vegeterian menu for his Michelin starred restaurant) and he thought my pastry work was excellent.
Shaun was the chef judges for the Semi final round which I did not win. Although Shaun liked my starter and dessert, he felt my main course was unbalalnced. I served breast of pheasent with cider braised cabbage with apples, lentils and madeira sauce and he felt that the cider clashed with the maderia and that it was a little too sweet overall. I would say that the dish tasted fine, and that I would be happy to serve it at home to guests, but that it was not well thought through enough for a competition.
Posted 10 October 2003 - 03:58 AM
I hope he felt guilty when he read your glowing review of the Merchant House on UKGourmet
They are delicious.
Posted 10 October 2003 - 04:15 AM
Eating Shaun's food and reading his books has deeply influenced the way I think about food, the way I cook and to a certain extent the way I write, so I am grateful to him for that and have therefore nearly forgiven him for Masterchef.
Posted 10 October 2003 - 10:27 AM
A couple of questions.
Have you ever participated in a cooking contest sponsored by a food manufacturer? The Pillsbury Bakeoff is the prototype, but I've also seen contests sponsored by McIlheney (Tabasco sauce) and others. Similar to the Amanda Hesser/Sandra Lee thread, is there an art to using prepackaged ingredients? Would you do it?
Secondly, what the hell are fondant potatos? I thought I had a handle on fondant, but that's the first time I've seen a reference to fondant potatos. Am I missing something (or simply thick)?
Edited by Chad, 10 October 2003 - 10:27 AM.
Posted 10 October 2003 - 10:41 AM
I haven't participated in a competition sponsored by a food company. The closest I have come was a recipe competiton run by something like the Port promotion board (if such a thing exists) and I knocked up "Plum Crumble Tart with Port Sorbet" which sounded good, but which I have never cooked to this day!
I tend to either cook completely from scratch or buy foods that need no further preperation so am not too skilled with the "100 great things to do with a tin of mushroom soup" school of cooking. The secret I am told is to feature the sponsors product heavily, possibly even to the detriment of the recipe itself.
Fondant potatoes are thick slices cooked in butter and a little water. You put raw potatos in a pan with raw butter and some water or stock and allow it to melt. The potatoes must be completely covered by the cooking liquids. You then cook them over a slow heat for 30-45 mins until tender. In theory the water will evaporate and the potatos will then brown in the remaining butter. They are "fondant" because of their meltingly soft texture. The recipe was developed by the Roux brothers I believe. Bruce Pooles version uses only butter though and works just as well, but it requires a hell of a lot of the stuff.
Posted 04 March 2005 - 08:00 AM
For a recipe only contest - how "original" is original. I have a Gumbo-Style Soup soup recipe that I make on a regular basis that I have adapted enough that I really consider it my own. It originally ran in the Washington Post.
I'm now considering entering it in a contest sponsored by a cooking magazine and several manufaturers (at least one of whose products need to be included in the recipe).
The original recipe had nine ingredients. I don't use one of those ingredients and have added four other ingredients (andouille, chicken, green chiles, tomatoes) changing the recipe significantly, but not changing its basic character. I've also changed the way the recipe is written.
Any thoughts on how this would fly?