Monday, April 30, 2012

Future Chefs Cookoff 2012 Part I

This weekend we spent most of Saturday with our favorite group of friends at Future Chefs. It was their annual Cookoff Competition and Skill Drill.  The day encompasses many activities. High School seniors participate in the competition. They are all given the same ingredients and asked to create an entree and dessert using all of their skills and creativity within a set time limit.  They then present two plates, one for tasting and one for presentation, to a panel of local Chefs who will judge the competition on a long list of attributes and rate each one.  The Chefs also oversee and observe their cooking and preparation skills.

Meanwhile, juniors are in another kitchen practicing their knife techniques with a chopping exercise.  Half of the seniors also participate in an ice breaker exercise led by a Future Chef alumni as their classmates are in the kitchen. They then switch places.  The students and Chefs take their roles very seriously but it's a friendly competition aimed at getting these students into an environment of precise timing while showcasing what they are capable of.  Real commercial kitchens are busy, stressful places where timing and precision are necessary skills and this day gives them the full experience of teamwork, responsibility and the chance to show their creative mastery.  It's incredibly fun to see all of the interaction, participation and emerging leadership. It's amazing to see their talent.   I always feel like I am privileged to actually witness the next generation of great Chefs and look forward to the day when I can have the bragging rights to say I was there when this great Chef was just starting out.  In the meantime, I'm just happy to be able to chronicle the event and hope you enjoy.

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