(apologies to Max Von Sydow)
This was no ordinary cooking competition. Iron chef? Mere celebrity twaddle. Top chef? Sniveling amateurs.
This, my friends, was S.A.S.O.U -- "Super Awesome Supreme Overlord of the Universe" Chef.
The idea of having a cooking competition started with my friend Amy some time ago. Organizing eight busy schedules dragged the competition over a period of a year, and we haven't SASOU'ed recently, but it was great fun and there are some good pictures, so I thought it worthy of a post.
A quick overview, then some photos: 8 friends, divided into four teams of two people each. Four separate episodes/meals. Each episode featured a different key ingredient. Each team was responsible for a different course - salad, appetizer, entree, dessert - and each course had the same common ingredient for that episode. The first dinner was based on the pear. The second, sweet potato. Third, ginger. Fourth, hazelnut. Dishes were judged and scored in various categories, including creative use of ingredient, presentation, and taste.
A delicious appetizer based on sweet potatoes, with beets and pistachios
The Prize: the winning team received a dinner at Nage, a great restaurant in D.C. (where our friend Glen Babcock happens to be the head chef), paid for by the other three teams.
It was awful close (and of course, pretty subjective), but in the end, Kitchen Monkey and his fiancee pulled slightly ahead for the victory. I was endlessly impressed with what the other teams came up with. My team's best dish (I think) was our dessert: Triple-ginger Snap Cookies with Fresh Berries, Ginger Zabaglione, and Raspberry Sauce. Check it out. Thanks to Scott for the photos.
Team Kitchen Monkey's Ginger Zabaglione dessert
A delectable hazelnut cake
A pear and goat cheese salad
Sweet Potato Bisque and Scorecard
Team Kitchen Monkey's salad entry, with hazelnut-encrusted tuna tataki and
goat-cheese-stuffed tortelloni made from hazelnut flour
A hazelnut-based mezze selection, including
excellent home-made pickles