Are you addicted to watching Top Chef? Are you glued to the tube for Masterchef? Do you give up going out, just to stay in and watch Chopped?
This is typical behaviour for those of us who are food and cooking obsessed. So being the exclusive media invited onto the judging panel of the 7th Annual Park Hyatt Iron Competition yesterday afternoon was a complete honour and thrill.
Under the expert, watchful eye of Executive Chef Joan Monfaredi, the competition was a serious event. I received two pages of rules and a long page of questions to be considered for each dish and team.
My esteemed fellow judges were:
Hans Von Rosenberg, Assistant Director of Catering & Conference Services, Park Hyatt Toronto
Gail Aihoshi, Executive Assistant, Park Hyatt Toronto
Dennis Kim, winner of the North American Regionals last year
Cheryl Barrow, winner of the competition last year
Each of the four teams of 3 (one all girls) was given 3 ‘black box’ ingredients that each had to be featured once. They then had to prepare an appetizer, main course and dessert in 45 minutes.
Just think about that for a moment – three courses in 45 minutes. Could you do that? And do it well? The lobster and duck components were especially challenging as it's difficult to not overcook them.
Each of the four teams put out incredible efforts using the secret ingredients of duck, lobster and pear. I saw amazing creativity (Lobster Millefeuille! Dessert in a tea cup!), and thoughtfulness from each team, and any of their creations – with a bit more time allowed – would be restaurant-worthy.
Team Bundy – The Girl Team of Iron Chef Girls vs Boys 2014 - were the winners, but teams Shake N Bake, Browntastic and Mariachi were oh-so-close behind.
From what I saw – and tasted – this kitchen is bursting with innovative, talented chefs.
I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Check out our Facebook page for pictures from this amazing event.