Wednesday, April 19, 2017
I had another ‘dream come true’ moment tonight when I was crowned Top CheFFE Champion! The Marist Italy student workers threw a friendly (but oh so serious) cooking competition that four teams participated in. It was set up like “Chopped.” We had to include:
- chicken breast
- secret ingredient (pickled cabbage)
in one master creation within 75 minutes!
I am embarrassingly very bossy in the kitchen, but Colleen could handle the heat; she was the perfect sous chef! She helped clean while I cooked, tasted everything, and mashed the cheesy mashed potatoes before forming two perfect quenelles of them.
I didn’t plan the dish before I started cooking at 7 PM; the inspiration just came to me! I served the three judges a plate I called “Chicken Two Ways.” Mom’s breaded chicken tenders on a bed of cauliflower rice with caramelized shallots. Baked zucchini on a pickled cabbage purée. Cheesy mashed potatoes. And shredded lemon chicken with pepper on top of a raspberry compote with Granny Smith apples.
It’s so nerve-racking watching people eat your food then give you feedback! The judges said it was delicious. ‘Restaurant quality.’ I especially loved the compliment “I’m impressed you didn’t hide the secret ingredient; it wasn’t just a garnish. You turned it into something really tasty that worked with the dish.”
I ran out of time, so I didn’t take a picture of my dish, but it’s the one on the bottom left in Marist Italy’s Instagram post. The prize was an adorable apron with the Top CheFFE title! When they announced ‘Emma and Colleen’, I immediately thought of the cookie bake-off at Emma Willard (that Nicki and I never officially won). This victory was much sweeter than losing two years in a row over chocolate chip cookies! xo ~ e.