So this past Saturday (2/6) I participated in the The Young Chef Competition at DMACC. Myself and five other competitors faced the challenge of turning eight mystery ingredients into an appetizer, entree, and dessert. We had 30 minutes to look through our ingredients and make our menu and then 3 hours to create our three courses. Our mystery ingredients were duck, duck confit, shrimp with heads, cashews, quinoa, endive, oranges, and rhubarb.
For my appetizer I did a rendition of an hors d' oeuvres we served at a gourmet dinner. It was a shrimp salad (shrimp, tomato, celery, garlic, and sour cream) served in an endive leaf.
For my entree I mistook the duck for pork, so my menu read wrong. This threw me for a doozy right out of the gate. But nonetheless I made a stock from the duck confit. And simmered that for 2 hours. I coated the duck first in a cashew, flour, and butter mixture. Then I seared the duck in a pan and then finished it in the oven.
For dessert I did an orange and rhubarb cookie that was dipped in chocolate. This was the first time I'd ever baked anything without a recipe, and I was pretty proud of how they turned out.
Overall I felt like I did pretty well for it being my first time. I was the only girl in the competition so I got to hang out with five pretty cool dudes for like 7 hours. After everyone was finished, the kitchen judges gave up feedback on things like sanitation, kitchen presence, and organization. Just today, I also got my tasting feedback. Overall their comments were pretty negative, but I totally understood where they were coming from. Everything they said was true. I thought that the whole opportunity was really good to practice working under pressure and managing my time well. I'm super excited to also be competing in a Pork competition in March with some girls from my section. The future holds some awesome things!
"People who love to eat are always the best people."
My name's Abby. I am a Iowa Culinary Institute graduate, current owner of a small online bakery, and a transaction coordinator to a couple pretty cool realtors. All in all, life is busy, but the kitchen never changes, so join me as we Take on the Kitchen!