Posted by Renee | Filed under Events
Last year I participated in the first ever “Cutting Edge Culinary Competition” organized by Taste of Nova Scotia at the Saltscapes Expo. If you hadn’t already heard, last year I was the winner of this competition. Thanks to my win I was able to walk away with a full set of Grohmann knives and a nice spread in the summer issue of Saltscapes Magazine. Despite being nine months pregnant and extremely crabby this year, I still felt the need to defend my title! I waited anxiously for the first weekend in May to roll around so that I could sharpen my knives, sharpen my skills and set out to kick some ass!
This year, I was paired against Chef Alan Crosby of White Point Beach Resort. I cannot even explain how much I looked forward to our “duel”. I arrived to find Alan already comfortably ready on the stage and looking cool as a cucumber. “Well,” I thought, “time to show him a thing or two!” We anxiously awaited to find out the contents of our “black box”. Would we be given lobster, yogurt from Fox Hill, or maybe some Blueberry juice from Van Dyk’s? Only two people knew the answer to these questions; Alain Bossé from Saltscapes Magazine and Christine White from Taste of Nova Scotia.
With pans on our burners, knives on our cutting boards and our volunteer sous chefs from the audience in place, the contents were unveiled: scallops, Farmer John’s Summer Savoury, honey, Tideview Vintage Cider and a big ‘ol green cabbage! With a look of awe on our faces, we set off to discuss our game plans with our sous chefs. I decided on making an Israeli couscous risotto with king mushrooms, fiddleheads, Tideview cider and summer savoury, pan searing my scallops and topping them off with a slaw of apple and cabbage in a honey-champagne vinegar vinaigrette. Forty five minutes on the clock and off we went! My sous chef started making the slaw and I tackled the risotto, and took some time to entertain the crowd with my ridiculous kitchen stories. I was hoping that my cool demure would bother Alan and get him off track, but he is a true professional and came back at me with some jokes and jabs.
Our time was up, and we were ready to plate. Phil, my sous chef, had been a real trooper and helped me put the finishing touches on our plates. Alan plated up his dish; seared scallops on a double smoked bacon and cabbage hash with honey and savory roasted fingerling potatoes. His dishes looked fantastic and I suddenly felt a stab of worry as I looked on. The crowd cheered us on and with a friendly handshake, Alan and I left the stage to await the results.
Needless to say, the best man won the competition, Chef Alan Crosby! Despite hoping to land the sympathy vote due to by ginormous belly, Alan was the deserving winner! At the end of the day, we all had a blast. I look forward next year and my next opponent.