An afternoon at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and judging Taste Canada Cooks The Books cooking competition? Well, that’s a perfect day!
Taste Canada Cooks the Books is a two-day cooking competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on November 2 & 3, 2013. Leading up to Taste Canada — The Food Writing Awards, Taste Canada Cooks the Books pairs culinary students with a Canadian cookbook author to mentor them as they prepare a dish from the author’s cookbook on stage in front of a live audience and judges.
Each school was randomly assigned a recipe, and it was fascinating to see the difference.
I got to judge 3 rounds with dishes cooked from:
- Share: Delicious Dishes from FoodShare & Friends: Adrienne De Francesco & Marion Kane,
- Best Recipes Ever From Canadian Living and CBC, Vol.2: Christine Tizzard,
- Modern Flavors of Arabia: Suzanne Husseini
The first dish I judged was prepared by Georgian College. They prepared Chicken Chorizo Paella from Best Recipes Ever From Canadian Living and CBC, Vol.2: Christine Tizzard. Their custom garnish was an heirloom and fresh cheese salad. Their big challenge was time. Paella needs almost exactly 30 minutes to prepare so they hustled hard to get the dish on, then had little to do while they waited for the dish to finish.
Next up was Loyalist College working from Share: Delicious Dishes from FoodShare & Friends: Adrienne De Francesco & Marion Kane
They prepared roasted celery root mash with sautéed mushrooms, kale and pepper purée. Their custom sides were a tuile for presentation and a pickle. Their challenge was timing as well since the celery root takes a long time to roast before you can mash it. So they used their time demonstrating the steps to prepare each element.
They prepared cauliflower fritters with yogurt and mint dip from Modern Flavors of Arabia: Suzanne Husseini Their custom garnishes include fried beet straws, salad and a tomato chili jam. They incorporated a number of items from their schools gardens in the dish as well.
The winning team of Taste Canada Cooks The Books was Liaison College Oakville who cooked from Rose Murray’s Canada’s Favourite Recipes.
As always, judging was both challenging and fun. And I got to meet some new faces in food, and reconnect with some old friends.