Thursday, 21 October 2010
An amazing day today. A few days after my disappointing attempt at the Chef of the Year competition, I bumped into the organiser, he saw that I was still really gutted as I had put allot of effort into that day (5 months of work in fact!), he asked me where did I think that I slipped up and I was honest and said that I cooked the wrong type of dish and didn't really know what the judges were looking for! He said that it would be good for me to see a competition from a judges point of view, and invited me to 'shadow judge' (basically follow a judge about all day and ask him questions, see what he is looking for, seek advice, etc) at a competition being held at Ascot! How kind of him! So a few weeks later, I slipped on my best shoes and off to Ascot I headed.
It was a really educational experience, being 'the other side of the fence', not feeling all of that pressure, just walking around tasting, tasting, tasting.
I was Shadow judge for the executive head chef of Claridges, he was really help full and full of use full advice, as he judges competitions all the time. I realised how so so so, important the taste of the food is to a judge, they are not to interested in fancy garnishes that take all day to prepare, all they want to see is great technique, flavours and seasoning, I know that this sounds really obvious but when you compete in a competition, you always find yourself concentration on the less important things! I discovered that to a judge, presentation is about 25%, obviously a dish needs to be tidy, and taste is about 75%, most people would think it 50 50! But if you think about it, if a dish looks bad but tastes great, you are more likely to score it higher than if it looks great but tastes terrible! I learned that the judges are looking for the simple things done well, fairly obvious, just competitors tend to loose their heads in the heat of the moment!
Posted by Chris Golding at 00:19