By the time you read this, the WFC will be probably within a month or so of kick off, and those of you who are competing know the clock is ticking. So, what should you be doing now? First of all, you should have read my first blog ‘World Food championships Training Tips~~Planning—if you haven’t, swing by and read that first. If you have, then read on—I’m making this short and sweet because time is a huge gnarly octopus to tame, and you’ll be feeling the pressures of that when you’re competing, and it starts now with this blog.
You’re going to have two builds to do in the first rounds—your signature dish and the structured dish. You have total control over the signature dish as to what you’re creating, the number and type of ingredients, as long as you stay within the ‘theme’ of your category. The ‘structured’ dish type(s) have been revealed, so you can start crackin’ on those, too. For me, in the recipe category, it’s who makes the absolute hunker down tastiest best mac n’ cheese in the foodie universe! So here are some thoughts when you’re looking at both of these dishes~~
Remember, you get one, and only one, shot at giving your best for both. Champion recipes are not haphazardly thrown together. The folks that are coming in each and every category are coming to win!
- I recommend spinning off several dishes—five, six, seven or more—testing them out on folks and seeing what gets the best reviews. Remember, even if it’s your ‘signature’ dish you’ve done for years and it’s the one that Auntie Em and Uncle Bubba love and rave about, but it doesn’t get top reviews (don’t let Autie Em and Uncle Bubba vote!), it may or may not be the right dish for the WFC! Just last night, I had my oldest son (who’s quite a culinary taster, who’s eaten in fine restaurants worldwide, and who lived/worked in Manhattan for 5 years) tasted one of my creations—after taking two bites, savoring the flavors as if he was swishing his wine and sniffing the scents, masticating slowly—I was holding my breath because he’s brutally honest—he looked at me and said, ‘Oh, yeah, Mom, this is competition worthy…’ He ate one serving and asked for a second. That dish makes to it the top 3 of my creations!
- Write down everything as you go along making these recipes—everything you’re using as you create your dish—don’t overlook annnneeeething—from a can opener to a pair of meat scissors, know what you need because you’re going to have to have this to do the recipe the day of competition.
- Think of names for your dish(es)—see how these names resonate with your taste-testers. Names are important my Mom always said, and she was talking about naming your children—side bar, if you’ve seen ‘The Butler’ the scene at the end where Oprah is old, has her oxygen tube in and is sitting at the kitchen table looking at her granddaughter’s picture~~well, this really lightens up this prolific movie and poignant scene—it’s the same with your dish, give it a name that’s got class, style and is chic and timeless.
- Take pictures of your dishes—from several angles, great lighting, getting photographic details—show these pictures to random folks. See what their reaction(s) are—do they ‘oooohhhh and aaahhhh’ … do they wonder what’s in this dish, like ‘mystery’ meat? Do they figure out what you’re trying to create? The point is that you don’t want your dish to look like a big blob of nothing or be un-identifiable—oh, yeah, you know what it is, it could have great flavors, but if that photo doesn’t ‘wow’ them, then go back to the drawing board with your creating!
Your work’s cut out for you—this competition is more than just a ‘walk in the park’—it’s taking place in a Spartan arena in one of the hottest most hip chic cities in the world, and you, my friend, must be The Gladiator! As we say in theatre—break uh leg!
©alice d’antoni phillips www.allyskitchen.com