Bronze!!! And it feels so good!!!

I apologize for having this posted a couple of days late, its just been crazy with the start of school. The competition was this past Saturday (the 22nd). What a thrilling experience!!! It was 2 hours and 30 minutes from start to plating. The competition is part of the annual ACF
(American Culinary Federation) Salon. It was a category F which is a two person team. I teamed up with my awesome friend from West Boca, Paige Desimone. Paige is  a Junior at WBHS and she is quite the teen chef. We had been practicing since July. Every Monday and Tuesday we would come into the West Boca Kitchen with Chef Hall ( our coach and head of the culinary academy) and practice techniques. The objective was to execute a 3 course regional ( native to FL) menu. The menu was as follows           

The Menu

Everglades Shrimp Salad
Spring mix with seasoned shrimp,
Tomato Concasse, Diced Florida Avocado
Dressed in a Key Lime Vinaigrette and served with an Herb Sea
Salt Cracker

      Sauté Snapper with a Grapefruit Butter Sauce
Fillet of Snapper covered in a Grapefruit Butter Sauce
and served with Tourne Potatoes, Sauté Spinach, and a Trio of Vegetable

Coconut Panna Cotta

Topped with a Tropical Fruit Salsa and served with Lemon Madeleine’s

30 Minutes for Set-up
(We had to bring everything)

Creating Salt Crackers for the salad


 Paige prepares the Dessert Plates, while I turn to check the stove

For the last 5 weeks my goal was to master the technique of filleting a snapper and well, I’m not sure if I have actually mastered this technique but I did a really great job of it. Lets say that there were many and I mean MANY snappers in my refrigerator. I had enough carcasses to make plenty of fish stock. I also deveined shrimp, made  herb sea salt crackers, cut and sauteed the vegetables and made the Panna Cotta. Paige sautéed the shrimp, piped the chocolate, tourned the potatoes ( which were marvelous), cut all the fruits, supremed the grapefruit and made the madeleines. When we first entered the room we were incredibly nervous and having the floor judges watching our every move didn’t help. There was a moment in the competition when a floor judge walked right up to my fish, picked it up, and inhaled its fishy odors. The pressure is on as they smell your cutting board to make sure its sanitary, measuring all your knife cuts, etc. 
Working on fillets with two judges looking over my shoulder

The Salad


There were four teams in the kitchen, each had their own work station. Each team starts off with a gold medal. Points can be deducted as you proceed. They check for sanitation, team work, food storage and technique. Two hours and 35 minutes later it was over.When it came time for the judging I almost passed out. Its incredibly intense to have your food critiqued by master chefs who know just about everything culinary. They had only a few criticisms and alot of good things to say. After us, they critiqued the 3 professional teams ( thats right, Paige and I were the only High School student team!). To our surprise we were both awarded a bronze medal! This was one of the greatest culinary experiences I have ever had. I definitely recommend you try a competition with your local ACF chapter or even if it’s a recipe contest. It’s okay if you don’t win something your first try ( hey, we weren't expecting to win anything) it’s all about the experience, learning new techniques and having FUN! Thanks to everyone who supported Paige and I, especially our parents, who shopped for ingredients, drove us to practice and kept us cooking. Well I'm off  to clean the dishes..... Keep on Cooking!

 Plating the Snapper

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