Judging Taste Canada Cooks The Books

An afternoon at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and judging Taste Canada Cooks The Books cooking competition? Well, that’s a perfect day!

For the love of food stage at #RAWF @tastecanada #CooksTheBooks @therawf

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:

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.

And the presentation of Georgian College's version of @cheftizzard's paella #RAWF @tastecanada #cooksthebooks

Next up was Loyalist College working  from Share: Delicious Dishes from FoodShare & Friends: Adrienne De Francesco & Marion Kane
.@mkanefoodsleuth talking about massaging kale @tastecanada #cooksthebooks #RAWF #tw

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.
Presentation of @loyalistcollege's version of the Delicious Dishes from FoodShare and Friends. #RAWF @tastecanada #CooksTheBooks

Finally for me, and the last team cooking in the competition was Assiniboine College.
Assiniboine College preparing @suzannecooks dish for @tastecanada #cooksthebooks #RAWF #tw

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.

And the final dish of the competition, prepared by Assinboine College, @suzannecooks Cauliflower Fritters #rawf @tastecanada #CooksTheBooks

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.

Taste Canada Cooks The Books

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

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