I got asked at the last hour to attend the Healthy Chef Competition as a media judge. I had no idea what I was walking into. Though I did know enough to come hungry.
I judged the participants, which was much harder than I thought. I know food and I know cooking but not this kind. My focus is ingredients. I spend a lot of time with food processors and stay up to date with the specialty grocery business. I’m not used to so much beautiful presentation and flavour combinations. I managed though (you’ll be relieved to know).
Fruit and vegetables are a big focus for this dinner. The Half Your Plate campaign is part of the chef challenge. I was ready to get inspired because I don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. I want to, honest I do, but I’m bad and reach for carbs.
Well, I was inspired and impressed. I don’t know how they do it, but chefs capture the intensity of flavour and colour of fruits and veg by pureeing them. By my reasoning, the outcome should look like the greeny-grey that is my smoothie. But they coax exotic Marrakesh market colours from their vegetables – pinks, greens, yellows, reds.
After I ate all this goodness and gave marks for the chef’s cleverness, I grabbed the best schwag box ever – a box of fresh fruit and vegetables provided to every diner courtesy of the BCPMA – and waddled home. The next day I used some of it to make my version of beautiful food - fresh mushroom soup, roasted beets with sorrel, sliced apples with sheep’s cheese. I loved that box. It got me eating in a whole different way.
Wow, it seems that after every event there is a time to decompress - and yet there is still plenty of follow-up that is essential. The event was a crazy, fun filled evening. An excellent turn out from the grocery trade, the foodservice industry showed off their immense skills, the silent auction brought in a lot of money for groups like Canadian Cancer and the Heart and Stroke foundation, Crystal did a great job auctioning off a wide range of items and the bloggers, contest winners and writers had a great time sampling the range of dishes - we'll see what they report out over the next few weeks!