A few years ago I decided that I need unbiased proof that I was actually good at this recipe development thing. That my recipes were good, not because the photos were pretty, or because they sounded good, or because some guy on twitter said he wanted to marry me.
But that an unbiased panel of experts thought they were good.
My solution to my self-esteem crisis was to enter recipe contests. The second one I entered was a chicken cook-off. Of course I choose chicken thights, and added a chipotle béarnaise and a few months later I got a call: I was in the finals. The unbiased panel of experts had chosen my recipe, along with 4 others, out of thousands of recipes that were submitted as the best that were entered. A few weeks later they shipped me off to San Diego to compete in a Chicken Challenge that ended with a giant foam core check with my name on it. I’d won.
Of course the $1000 check and trip to San Diego was a great prize, but the real trophy was the validation that I was actually good at this thing I want to dedicate my life to. At a post Winner Winner Chicken Dinner press conference I’d asked one of the chefs who had been a part of the original selection process what he looked for in a recipe, clearly he didn’t make all thousand submitted recipes.
He told me that all great entree recipes have these elements: fat, acid, protein, and a fresh herb. That’s what he looked for. Maybe that’s why I always reach from something green to sprinkle on top of the entrees I make.
Although he didn’t say anything about beer. Maybe he should re think his strategy.