Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition with a dash of orange

Today started so simply. Pellegrino... sparkles... water. Nestled next to the wine. Entwined. For later.

Winter oranges on my counter. Also - for later. Sparkling red.

Sparkling clear.

A contest to attend a contest. As Foodbuzz goes through blog entries determining who will be the lucky winners to attend the semi-final San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition in Las Vegas or the finals in Napa Valley, I sip my water and dream of sparkles in the guise of glistening food and scintillating chefs. I see the buzz, the movement, the plating, the stakes. And in all honesty - the warmth. It is February in Minnesota, after all.
`
It's time to finish the orange salad as planned. I'm grateful my task is simple.
Orange salad.... Insalata Di Arance.. or in Sicilian dialect: Nzlata D'Aranci. Sliced oranges with black pepper. Shimmering. Jumping. Like my sparkling water. Like my mind.



My work station glows with possibilities. A chance to watch up-and-coming chefs. The future. The food. Yes, of course the food. Which reminds me - I haven't planned my dinner food.


Dinner plates lay empty. The orange salad is done. Will that suffice? My mind is a blank. I am thinking of other foods. What will the young chefs prepare? What spark will they ignite in me? In my area (Minnesota), Brian Schrieber won the competition with his Bacon-wrapped Halibut Tournedos. Could that be on my menu tonight?
`
All I have is the salad. Oranges blazing with freshly-grated pepper. Some sliced olives scattered over all. A drizzle of olive oil. It will please. But really, there should be another course.


Pellegrino dreams. Oranges. Winter brights. A lovely addition but my table is lacking.


Flashes of ingredients. The promise of sweet, savory, sensual from an orange, a fillet, a nut or a vine.
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The competition is a mentoring program. That idea fills my being. As one who has mentored, taught and learned from my students, mentoring is giving back to those who helped you. But I realize that although my being may be filled, my family will want something more.
`
I enter with hope. I am old enough to understand competitions, the wins and the losses. But not so old that I cannot learn from the young. I am wise enough to realize dinner must arrive at my dinner table no matter what my distraction. And pleased that my distraction includes glimmers of almost-famous-chefs


So here is my entry - a wish really. A sort of trust. A chance to celebrate young chefs, their creations, their imaginations. Witnessing it all. Taking it in breath by breath through all the senses. And what would I bring? As a veteran of many playwrighting competitions where I have won, lost and dwelled in the nebulous area of placing somewhere in-between, I bring my unwavering support, myself and my appetitie. My appetite for food, young chefs, new talent and fresh creation. My guarantee to not go on a diet till after the competition. My hands for applause, as well as support, encouragement and reminders to breathe. Always breathe. And a message to the young chefs: savor each moment. For win, lose or draw, those moments will forever be an ingredient in the "you" that will come.







39 comments:

Pearl said...

that looks so delicious!

Chow and Chatter said...

great salad hope you win love Rebecca

Claudia said...

Thanks Pearl and Rebecca. Made some typos while filling out the form (ouch) so, probably won't go through - but you know - it was fun to write.

OysterCulture said...

Best of luck! You got my vote! What a lovely and delicious looking salad!

5 Star Foodie said...

A lovely orange salad! Good luck with this contest!

Linda said...

Good luck...looks great!

Wanda said...

Wishing you luck Claudia!!!

Velva said...

And a great salad it is! I have my fingers crossed for you.

pegasuslegend said...

Good luck Claudia
when you get a chance stop by my blog I have something for you :)

bonnie said...

I love your salad, Fingers crossed for you, Good Luck!!

Marika Josephson said...

In bocca al lupo! Fascinating recent stories about your grandmother, too. Hope your meal will do her proud...

janet said...

Good luck Claudia, that is my kind of salad!!

unconfidential cook said...

I love orange salad and make mine with red onions--so pretty and so surprisingly good!

Kim said...

What a well written post Claudia! Hope you win!! The orange salad sound bright and refreshing.

We have the very same laptop!

Bridgett said...

What a bright and beautiful salad! Best wishes to you!

Vrinda said...

i never tasted orange salad,sounds unique and very flavorful...Good luck claudia

Vrinda said...

I never tasted orange salad,sounds unique and flavorful..Good luck Claudia

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love blood red oranges with cut raw finnichio(fennel)...mmmm..so good!

Best of luck Claudia! I hope Food Buzz choses you! What a great venue to go to. When do you find out? Fingers crossed!

biz319 said...

What an interesting salad - and great post - I hope they pick you!

I was going to enter, but its right around my daughters 18th birthday AND when I am supposed to host an exchange student from Germany for three weeks!

My fingers are crossed for you!

eatingRD said...

congrats to you, very jealous! have fun!

Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog said...

So refreshing salad and good luck Claudia!!

Have a great week,

Gera

doggybloggy said...

hey looks like all the usual suspects are here - how did I not know about this blog?

Katy ~ said...

You absolutely have my vote. LUV orange salad!!

Juliana said...

Yummie, the orange salad looks absolutely delicious :-) Got my vote!

Claudia said...

To all my lovely blogger friends: I won! I am off to Vegas tomorrow for the competition and look forward to grand food and young talented chefs. Packed and jumping out of my skin!

Lynda said...

A delicious looking salad!
Oh, you won- congrats to you...have a great time!

Sophie said...

Congrats for you of winning!! Yeah!!

The salad looks very interesting & so good,...mmmmmmm!

casalba said...

I was going to say "auguri", but when I read on I can happily say "brava". That's brilliant news - moreover, the salad looks and sounds delicious. Well deserved.

figtree said...

What a refreshing salad..a real winner!! Ill keep my fingers crossed!!

Katherine Aucoin said...

The salad looks so fresh and inviting. I hope you win Claudia!!!

Cinnamon-Girl♥ said...

Claudia!!! Yay!!! I am so excited for you! Can't wait to hear all about it! XO

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely orange salad Claudia. Oranges are so gorgeous in a salad I think.

I've got my fingers crossed for you that you win. You deserve a trip out of the frozen north.
Sam

Barbara GF said...

Congratulations, Claudia! What a wonderful, scintillating experience for you. Do share all on your return.
This weekend is the Bocuse d'Or at the CIA in Hyde Park, which is generating lots of buzz. Cheers to all!

Sortachef said...

Beautiful sentiments, Claudia, along with a lovely salad just bursting with flavors. Thanks!

gaga said...

That's a beautiful salad. My orange tree is starting to ripen, maybe I'll give this a try!

Gloria said...

Love this salad Claudia look nice!! gloria

artful said...

A great posting. I especially loved the one on ones with the young chefs, most of whom learned from their families, especially I note their grandparents. Nice touch.

Nour El-Zibdeh said...

This is very interesting! I found you through Chow and Chatter... plus you've been on the Food Buzz Ad :) Excited to read more from you!
Nour

Nour El-Zibdeh said...

Oh, and I've learned so much from my mom, but my grandmother is the real pro. I'm blessed to have spent so much time with her in the kitchen.

I wonder if we can still inspire our grandkids and still maintain our traditions.