Culinary Challenge pt1

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The contestants were set and ready to go at 1:00pm for the judges tasting...

The judges were Lalitha (South Africa), Christian (Germany), Nicholas (Kenya), Anne (England), Tyrone (United States) and representing the voice of the kids, Grace (United States).

As Peter hosted (quite like the chairmen on the American Iron Chef series) Introducing each team and having them describe their dish and a little bit about how they came to their choices in recipe, preparation, and use of ingredients.

This is the order they came out to present their meals: First we had Team Tatyana (with sidekick Christine), Second we had the good Doctors Mark & Peggy, and Third Josh & Peter (affectionately known as 'The Boys').

I think most of us could agree whether we individually liked a dish, food item, or overall presentation or not these contestants did a great job at cooking some good meals that are probably 'do-able' at the 'whole crew' level (400+).

Here is how the 6 judge panel scored and my own personal thoughts:

Mark and Peggy (came out on top after Peter 'The BossMan' made the tie breaking decision) With a Lamb, Rice, Humus, and Pita meal that was very creative and tasty. Mind you I couldn't eat lamb near as much as I could eat the Curry Chicken or Seafood Pasta the other contestants cooked up BUT the rice was nicely seasoned, the lamb was edible (and that in itself is hard to do) but the sauce probably could have been 'kicked up a notch'...I am still leery of whether the pita bread will get done for 400+ people, but the humus was 'spot-on' I would say.

Tatyana (& sidekick Christine) came in second AFTER the tie was broken...but that was because The BossMan knew there was no way he could pull 'The Boys' back up to the #1 spot since they came in Third (because The BossMan really wanted to put the The Boys back on top after reminding him of food 'like back home').Their meal ~ Curry Chicken, Rice, Pasta & Cabbage salad, and Green Bean Vegetables. I loved the curry chicken and it was cooked right, not overdone but not chewy like when it barely gets done. Alas I didn't really think the pineapple helped (but that's a personal preference) and the Almonds needed a little toasting. But the white rice was fine because I would have just pushed it into the curry sauce anyway...maybe a spice and/or herb or two could have picked up the taste on the pasta and cabbage salad, but I personally thought it may work. The thing about this meal is I think you could eat it more consecutive times than either of the other two...and so did the voice for the kids, Grace.

Josh & Peter 'The Boys' came in Third with a Seafood Pasta Salad & Roasted Asparagus with garlic sauteed in butter. A valiant effort, really! I know what the shrimp (they were really to small to be called prawns, those are the bigger ones) tastes like and to make this pasta salad taste even halfway decent you were doing good, and they were. Their meal is totally do-able and the shortest of the three to prepare but I had to also take in to consideration the black garlic in my overcooked asparagus. Less cooking time on the vegetables and more sauce on the pasta...Oh, that would be a winner. But they provided an entertainment and comedy value to the whole dining experience for the 'tasting' & judging that I would like them to reproduce for us in the dining room during a full meal. But I guess that would be asking too much wouldn't it? --->[but yes, I will probably still be stealing this idea and putting it on the menu, it would work especially well on a fire drill day when half to a whole hour of time is taken away from our dinner preparation...time is of the essence cooking for so many]

The BossMan and I will be anxious to see how the winners fair at translating their meals to feed everyone at dinner time!

If you missed pt1 of the Culinary Challenge...well, you missed a great time! After collecting perspectives from the 'audience' we think this could be a hit event and would be willing to do it again, but then of course this one isn't finished yet!

Saturday May 10th ~ Doctors Mark & Peggy will debut their meal for the whole crew.

Sunday May 11th ~ Tatyana (& sidekick?) will debut their meal for the whole crew.

At that time make sure and come back and visit the blog to vote BECAUSE THIS TIME ITS YOUR TURN TO PICK WHO WINS!

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