Jan 10, 2009 - Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts,
Minneapolis Young Chef Rôtisseur Competition
Photography courtesy of Veronique Viardin
(view Carl's album @ snapfish)
As part of its mission, the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs sponsors an annual cooking competition, known as the Jeunes Commis Rôtisseur Competition, to encourage and promote the culinary expertise of aspiring young chefs by exposing them to a competitive environment with their peers. The contest enjoys considerable prestige and draws participation from member organizations located throughout the world. In the United States, there are ten Regional events, followed by a National event, and the winner of the National event goes on to participate in International competition.
Each year, the Bailliage du Minneapolis sponsors a local contest designed to stimulate interest in the Jeunes Commis Rôtisseur Competition and to select the best candidate for the Regional event. Once again this year, the contest was masterfully orchestrated by Vice Chargée de Missions Amanda Bové Sill.
One has to admire the young people (under 27) who step up to the challenge for they face a formidable task in terms of the professional rigor that is required; this is not about creating something that might please a celebrity judge. Rather, it is a contest demanding everything from originality, flavor, and presentation to organization, kitchen technique, sanitation, and timing.
In keeping with the French heritage of the Chaîne, the young competitors are referred to as Jeunes Commis Rôtisseurs. The Jeunes Commis are asked to prepare a three course meal for four people in a period of four hours. On the day of the competition, the contestants draw lots for start times. As each start time arrives, the contestant is handed an identical mystery basket and is given half an hour to design a menu using some portion of all of the ingredients therein. He or she then has three hours to prepare the meal and half an hour to plate three dishes consisting of an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert.
The competition is normally held in a cooking school where identical facilities and equipment can be made available to each contestant. This year Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts graciously provided the site for the competition as well as the mystery basket of food and a pantry of additional food stocks.
The competition is judged by three groups of judges: Professional, Gastronome, and Kitchen. The Professional judges are typically Executive Chefs from Chaîne member organizations. The Gastronome judges are Chaîne members with special knowledge of food and fine dining. The Kitchen judges are typically professionals associated with the host school or Chaîne member organizations who are asked to judge the work habits of the contestants.
Young Chef Rôtisseur Contestants
In the photo from left to right are:
- Arron Anderson, The LaFayette Club
- Madeline Hughes, The Radisson Plaza Hotel
- Thomas Winslow, The Marquette Hotel
- Veronica Vera, Oak Ridge Conference Center *** WINNER ***
- James Diedrich, Le Cordon Bleu
- Tom Goodman, Byerly's Minnesota Grill
- Jennifer Zeadon Le Cordon Bleu
- Brad Wallisch, The Radisson Plaza Hotel
- Jared Suydam Le Cordon Bleu
The Mystery Basket Ingredients consisted of:
- Diver Scallops
- Whole Pheasant
- Meyer Lemon
- Blood Orange
- Hard Winter Squashes
- Dried Figs
Some portion of each of the components of the Mystery Basket must be used in each of the menus. In addition, a pantry of known ingredients is available to each contestant.