Last week was a hectic one, we did a lot of competition practice in my hot foods class and in Garde Manger we catered. The competition was Friday afternoon and it wasn't until I was about a block away that I felt the nerves start. I walked into the kitchen and was over come with butterflies. I was certain that I was going to catastrophically screw something up. And believe it or not I didn't. Nothing went terribly wrong, I wasn't late on my presentation, I didn't drop anything, I didn't burn anything (except my hand...oophf). I just showed up and cooked some really good food. The seasoned and very experienced chefs judges, flew in from all over the US. During my cook time the chefs walked around the kitchen and observing our techniques and asking us questions. It sounds much more nerve wracking that in was, in fact I enjoyed that aspect of it. One of the chef's admired my preparations and reminded me to salt the backside of my chicken. More than anything it was cool. Upon the completion of my plates a steward took them to the judges table with minutes to spare. I waited impatiently until it was time for my critique. The judges were kind and full of advice for me. Most of their notes I received were positive, except for those about my risotto from the born and raised Italian chef. Of course I would make an Italian dish for an Italian man, and of course it would be wrong. His biggest note for me was not to toast my rice in butter before adding stock, that's the authentic way of making it, the way his mama made it, the way he makes it - not the way that I learned. Other than that he said that my dish was nice and well thought out. After everything was said and done the chefs encouraged me to keep it up and reminded me that I had done excellent for my first competition. I was awarded a bronze medal for my dish, and was shocked to find out that I was only 1/3 of a point away from a silver. I was proud of myself and went home happy.
Roasted Chicken Breast Jus Lié over Parmesan-Mushroom Risotto with Thyme Buttered Carrots & Lemon-Garlic Haricot Vert