Why am I boring you with all this chef-y information? Because I want you to understand the implication of those curveballs we threw and how they could easily wreack havoc on anyone’s timeline. The chefs had to think on their feet, adjust their prep lists, and change their dishes as we threw different challenges their way. Not having running water, for instance, is a major pain. And as if that’s not enough, not having servers is even harder to manage, because the chef is now responsible for cooking and serving the food. And let’s face it, most chefs prefer to be in the back of the house finessing their dishes. The real challenge was to see just how well our chefs could adapt to an unpredictable environment. The key to being great under pressure is keeping your cool and serving the food you planned to serve. I was not surprised to see our chefs getting a little touchy with each other as we put so much pressure on them. Hugh and Naomi almost lost it trying to make up for the missing waiters. I loved the way Suvir and Traci kept their cool and focused on serving their chaat salad and rib eye courses. The flavor of Naomi’s celery velouté was seriously unbelievable. I have to say, it was my favorite dish. But the fact that all of these chefs could pull together and serve one the best menus I have ever eaten at a charity dinner is proof that they all deserve first place.
Now for my least favorite time of the night: sending someone packing. This honestly bums me out as the chefs always work so hard to serve such great food. But what makes this competition a serious challenge is that it asks the chefs to show off their strengths and, at the same time, reach outside their comfort zones. John is such a creative and talented chef, but this week he played it a little too safe with the shitake and prosciutto risotto.
Everyone who attended the dinner had a great time. There was an amazing amount of charitable cheer in the room and lots of money was raised, so a big thank you to our generous donors. Also a big congratulations to our outstanding chefs. What an amazing job under the harshest of conditions. I can’t wait to see what gets served next week.