The reason I'm blogging about the conference was the Tuesday event billed as "Fire and Ice". I really had difficulty making sense of this theme, but came to understand that if you wore denim trousers and then added red shirts and/or shoes and rhinestone whatevers, that you would fulfill the goal of the planners. OK, I guess. I didn't do any of those things, but they didn't turn me out at the door, which was good, because my dinner depended on making it through this activity.
The challenge was to create 10 discrete dishes in 30 minutes that would then be objectively judged by some unknown group of culinary experts. I got to make an appetizer with chicken, black beans, yellow peppers, garlic, and cilantro.
There were folks with stop watches and other time-keeping devices who kept urging us to step up the pace. How many dishes were complete? Five? Seven? Not enough! There was a platform onto which we needed to place the finished delicacies and there were still several empty spots. Hurry!
As the 10th item was being placed on the rack, it was clear that the event was moving into the next phase. I was expecting the team of "judges" to begin making the rounds and soon after that, we'd be able to taste the finished products, not only of our team, but of the others as well. I was really hungry and looking forward to that phase. Instead, we were quickly ushered into the adjoining room and told that the results of the judging would follow shortly.
|the guy who knew what to do|
The room we entered was another large ballroom that was set for dinner for about the same number of folks in our room. We soon learned that we had been mildly duped. No judging was ever going to take place. We'd generated all of that frenetic activity and no one was going to taste the items that we'd created. In fact, all of the food was going to be thrown out. As we sifted through that knowledge, we started to realize that it was probably just as well. Folks were remembering that they witnessed serious cross-contamination of knives and cutting boards and that no one actually was seen sampling what they were doing. You can't possibly know if what you're seasoning is any good without tasting it!
As much as we were disappointed at experiencing a slightly altered evening, we enjoyed our dinner and felt satisfied that we'd given it our best shot. We did good going along for the ride. Call me up if you have a vacancy at your next culinary competition. I do a mean pantry grab.