We may have been at the beach for the World Food Championships, but there was no relaxing going on. Our Just A Pinch cooks were on fire!
Day 1: Dessert
The competition kicked off with Desserts and crepes were on the menu. Boy did our team prepare some tasty treats.
Nancy A. came to Orange Beach completely ready to cook. She prepared Orange Almond Blueberry Essence Crepes for her structured recipe and Caramel Apple Kissed Brownie Pielettes for her signature dish smoothly and beautifully.
Having competed before Nancy Judd knew what was ahead. Nancy was organized and her food styling and presentation was beautiful as always.
Brenda Washnock’s signature recipe was Creamy Bourbon and Toasted Pecan Pate a Choux. Her bourbon whipped cream was amazing and may have been the most “tasted” ingredient that day. She also made beautiful Orange Chantilly Cream Filled Basil Crepes that looked delectable.
Stacked Crepes and Salted Caramel Apple Dumplings were what Greg Buerger created in his kitchen and wow were they good.
Those competing in Desserts would have to wait until Day 2 to find out where they placed in the competition.
Day 2: Bacon, Steak and Opening Round Awards
Bacon was up first on Day 2 and Andreanne Geise was ready to get into the kitchen. She prepared a Bacon Cornbread with a Maple Bacon Glaze over it. Wow, cornbread alone is amazing but add bacon and maple… Delicious!
Andreanne also made her Bacon, Shrimp & Tomato on Garlic Bacon Toast. She had this fun gadget that made slicing the avocado that went on top a breeze. I love learning about new gadgets and I’m adding it to my kitchen.
Jasmin Stewart-Harbin got to work in Steak and was very impressive. Jasmin was able to turn in her entry on time besides having a few technical difficulties. Can you imagine having a blender and a food processor that didn’t work while competing?
That happened to Jasmin, but she was cool, calm and collected. She crushed things by hand and even whisked up a hollandaise sauce for her Steak Oscar. While she didn’t place in the Top 10, she impressed chefs from other categories.
The Top 10 finalists were announced from yesterday’s Dessert competition. Greg Buerger took 4th place and Nancy Judd placed 7th. They’ll both be continuing onto the Dessert Top 10.
Day 3: Recipe, Sandwich, Burger and Opening Round Results
The Recipe category this year was Breakfast. Lori McLain was her sweet, funny self while competing. She created a Kentucky Hot Brown Eggs Benedict along with a Twinkie Waffle. I snuck a taste of both and they were delicious!
Ann Jones was also competing. She made Biscuits and Gravy with Chicken and Eggs Benedict. It looked amazing. Unfortunately, there was a hiccup at turn-in time and a late turn-in resulted in disqualification. A hard moment, but Ann handled herself like a professional.
Later in the day, Sandwich got underway. Hidemi Walsh is brilliant with her combination of flavors. She made her Caprese and Shrimp Cocktail Sandwich that earned her spot at the World Food Championship along with a delicious Cuban sandwich.
A Cuban sandwich was the required sandwich for all Sandwich competitors. Being from Florida, Amy Freeze had made a few of these over the years and nailed her sandwich. In fact, when the Sandwich Top 10 awards were announced later that evening, Amy was in 1st place.
Shea’s signature burger had a delicious remoulade sauce mixed with the meat. She topped them with a fried green tomato and a drizzle of remoulade. It was very yummy.
George’s signature Chorizo Bacon Cheddarburger wowed the judges. He ended up in 10th place and was moving on in the competition.
Day 4: Top 10 Round & Results Dessert; Opening Round Chili
Lori prepared her Blazin’ BBQ Traditional Chili as her signature chili. I’ve tasted this before and know how good it is. She changed direction and made a white chicken for her other entry. Lori’s husband was her sous chef and they made a great team.
For her red chili entry, Darci Bos turned in a Beef Tenderloin Chili. My oh my, tenderloin mixed with the spices is just delicious.
Throughout the event, there are demonstrations happening and I was able to catch Darci’s demo. She, along with her husband, made an oatmeal dressing for Thanksgiving. It was fabulous and hopefully, she shares the recipe.
Dessert was next up and cream cheese was the required element. Greg created Salted Caramel Cheese Apple Dumplings which were a winner in my book. Nancy prepared her sweet, spicy and delicious Cookies Caliente with Salty-Sweet Lime Drizzle.
Day 5: Top 10 Round & Results Sandwich, Burger, Chili
On Day 5, Amy Freeze and George Levinthal were in their kitchens cooking up a storm.
Amy produced an amazing Deviled Crab Roll. Her sandwich was layered with slaw, crab and a cheese slaw all stuffed inside awesome bread. When testing the recipe on her family, Amy said there wasn’t a peep of sound at the dinner table. When does that ever happen when you have kids? After I tried a bite of the sandwich, I understood why. It was delicious.
George Levinthal made another amazing burger. BUBBA burgers had to be used again and George really perfected a method of preparing these burgers that are to be grilled from frozen. His burgers were extremely moist and you’d never know they were frozen. Jim Beam was required and George created an amazing bacon and bourbon jam to top his burger. Served with a bourbon milkshake on the side, it was fun and tasty.
Unfortunately this year, team Just A Pinch didn’t have any cooks at the Final Table, but we couldn’t be any prouder. This team gave everything they had in the kitchen and put their best recipes forward. Congrats Team Just A Pinch!