Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Judged an ACF Show in Washington DC

I just spent the last weekend in Washington DC judging an American Culinary Federation competition. A great time was had by all, including the competitors and the judges. The event took place in the Washington Convention Center. There was two days of competition, the first day on Saturday was the Market Basket competition. One version was an F/1 which was a four course meal, ten portions each and the competitors had no idea of their ingredients, sort of like Iron Chef, but on steroids; they had four hours to prepare the meal. The second group had the same guidelines, except they had a shorter time frame and there were two people on each team.

On the second day we judged about 30 competitors in a category known as Contemporary. The category involves the competitor creating one entree course, preparing four portions, in 60 minutes, with a 5 minute plating window. Additionally there were competitors that produced some amazing watermelon carvings (one of the competitors happened to be the guy who won the TV Food Network vegetable carving challenge); while others prepared a variety of "cold food" (charcuterie) show platters.

It was a great time, a number of golds were attained in the contemporary category, a guy I have known for awhile who has improved vastly over the last year or so I have known his. Another chef who I would call a friend Peter Dweyer did a great job in the F and cold food categories. More admirabley, he trained five students to compete who preferomed wonderfully in the contemporary category. One student attained a silver, after haveing never competed before this point. Peter himself attained a few medals in the categories he comepted in.

I judged with some amazing chefs, humbling actually looking at who they are, Chef Alfonso Contrisciani CMC, Chef James Hanyzeski CMC , Chef Rene Marquis, and Chef Gunther Heiland CMPC. We had a few great meals at restaurants in DC, Jose Adreas' Turkish/ Israeli style tapas restaurant and an ACF member's restaurant, Agraria which was even more amazing than Andreas place.

I had a great time, can't wait to see the judge's I worked with and the chefs that competed again soon.

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