Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Peaches, Almonds, and Frosted Flakes

Last Friday, Connor and I drove up to the South Town Expo center to be part of the audience watching the Utah's Best Chef competition. (Audience included Jason's boss, Kendall Wimmer, and Thanksgiving Point's Director of Catering, Molina Welcker, whom I must thank for pictures of the event. Thanks Molina!)

This would normally just be a mildly entertaining way to spend my afternoon, however; this was not your normal competition. For me anyway. Jason happened to be one of the four chefs invited to compete! That made it an incredibly exciting way to spend my afternoon!!
Hosted by Angie Larsen of Good Things Utah fame, the event was run Iron Chef style. The teams were able to bring their own equipment and seasoning ingredients. Then they all had access to a pantry of foods to utilize in their dishes. The meat provided was a whole chicken, and of course, there was a mystery box of ingredients that they were not allowed to see until right before the 60 minute time period began. One of the judges was Kelsey Nixon, from The Next Food Network Star season 4, who is a Utah Girl. The other's were Chef Brian Woolley from KUTV news, and two restaurant critics whose names escape me. Kelsey said that on the real Iron Chef, the teams actually get to see the mystery ingredients beforehand. Cheaters. Anyway, the items in the box were:
1. Peaches. Easy Peasy
2. Almonds. Easier Peasier
3. Organic Fosted Flakes. What?!??!! The teams had to work all three ingredients into both an entree and a dessert!! How could you incorporate frosted flakes into an entree without, well, tasting gross??

I'll tell you how:

First you create a puff pastry tart filled with a bit of lemon cream cheese. Layer it with your fresh peaches and top with a crumble of almonds, sugar, butter and, viola--frosted flakes. Ladle some Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise underneath and don't forget the caramelized peach to lay alongside the pastry. (It was gorgeous. As beautiful a garnish as it was a part of the dessert.)

Then you make a sliced sweet potato latke to place under your entree. Saute yourself some fresh green beans for the side and continue on to your chicken creation.



Jason tells me this was a last minute stroke of genius. OK, he didn't use the word genius, that was me.

Now, whilst your chicken is merrily baking away in the beautiful $11,000 Thermadore oven/stove combination that I can only fantasize about having in my kitchen some day, you need to fashion a sauce. Using the peaches, some onions and PINEAPPLE VINEGAR, (honestly, did ANY of the other teams even THINK of bringing PINEAPPLE VINEGAR with them?? I doubt it.) create a lovely, sweet, yet tart, accompaniment to your perfectible poultry.

Then, with mere minutes left, arrange your culinary works of art on beautiful orange dishes and present them to the judges.

Let's review:

Stuffed Chicken breast with sweet potato Pommes Anna, topped with a sweet and sour pineapple peach sauce, accompanied by fresh green beans and tomatoes

A lemon cream cheese, peach tart paired with a caramelized peach and served with a Grand Marnier creme anglaise

(see the cool caramel coming off the peach in the background? It looks like a duck. And you'd NEVER KNOW there were frosted flakes in the chicken if I hadn't told you)

Jason and Rand, his sous chef for the contest, did a great job. (On a side note, Rand is Kristen Shumway's brother) The other three teams were tough competition, but in the end, I think it was the use of the pineapple vinegar and the beautiful peach tartlet that put my man over the top. YES!! I AM THE WINNER!!! er...I mean JASON & RAND are THE WINNERS!!

The judges were even overheard saying how unfortunate it was that there wasn't more dessert to indulge in!!

Here is the prize:

How sweet is that? Jason and Rand split it and I say it was well deserved! Truth be told, I really am the winner because I am married to such a wonderful, good-looking, multi-talented guy! GOOD JOB JASON AND RAND! You just proved what I already knew!!!


kbrandon said...

that sounded so good!! do you think that he would be able to recreate that for girls night? Congrats!!

Leslie said...

Congratulations to the master chef!! What a great accomplishment! I will be watching Jason on the Food Network any day now! Pineapple Vinegar??? Who would have thought.

Peggy said...

I got so hungry reading that post! Mmmmm... I think I'm going to dream about those culinary perfections tonight.

That is pretty dang awesome that 1. He is talented enought to come up with that! 2. That he was chosen (out of who knows how huge of a number of chefs in Utah) to compete, and 3. That he won!

Congratulations to both of you! That's so exciting! I'm so happy for you!

Melanee said...

Wow!! Way exciting!!

Most of us have had at least one chance to try his food, I still want the recipe for the sauce he put on the chicken cordon bleu. He is an amazing chef!! He (and you) deserves it!!

Carterista said...

Incredible!!! Your play-by-play account gave me the impression of being in the audience. I would have loved to attend! I didn't understand most of the words you used to name the food, but I'd pay lots of money to try Jason's concoctions. Who doesn't love peaches, almonds and Frosted Flakes, huh? Tell Jason he in 'DA MAN!!!

JoMamma said...

I think I put a few pounds on just reading about the food. Not to mention seeing the picture. YUMMY! Congrats.

Piglet 26 said...

ughhhhh now I am sooooo hungry I cant even think about the mac and cheese I am making for my family tonight. The agony of it all.

ummm...just to let you know, my offer for pictures is still on the table, it can be used for family, personal, baby, or exotics with the use of a chef hat...I personally would go with the latter one.

Carolyn said...

Congratulations Jason!!! Wow, I am so impressed...You guys are so amazing!!!

haley said...

THAT IS SO COOL! Way to go Jason!

kellieanne said...

Jason Rocks!

The Jacklins said...

WOW!! Congratulations Jason!! I saw Good Things Utah promoting this competition and thought of you guys!! I wondered if Jason would be a part of it...and look at that...he OWNED the competition!! SWEET! Looks delicious! We miss you guys and hope everyone is doing well!! Take Care!

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