Worcester’s Best Chef Competition – pt. 1

Good food, fierce competition

As many of you know, this past Sunday I had the pleasure of photographing the Worcester’s Best Chef Competition.

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The stage is set!

This was the 9th edition of this annual event, which has become extremely popular with everybody in the area, who might be in the mood for trying some extreme gourmet bites prepared by the best local chefs.

The event is broken down into a couple of phases.  A limited ticket sales VIP phase allows those folks who want it a little quieter to enjoy the delicacies during the first hour of the event.

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Chef Ken Zhang focused on the task!

This is followed by the open tasting time, which lasts about two hours.  By the end of this time, all votes for the attendees’ favorite dishes need to have been cast.

There was an abundant variety of amazing offerings from local restaurants, ranging from quail to scallops, tenderloin, just too many to list here (I will share some photos of a number of the dishes in a future post).

The line for just about every restaurant booth was long, but that was no reason to be deterred, as there was plenty of food for all attendees.

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Chef Christopher Bairos adds honey

Next, the judges’ choice and people’s choice award winners are announced, as well as the dessert competition winners; the latter competition is between regional high schools that have culinary programs. The desserts were excellent!

Then the grand finale event kicks off: an Iron Chef style 30 minute cooking competition with ingredients from a mystery basket!

This year, most of the ingredients were locally sourced with a winter squash, lamb and local cheese, as the key elements.

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Chef Bill Nemeroff plates

It always amazes me, how much these talented chefs can accomplish in a mere 30 minutes.  They didn’t even look rushed, as it didn’t come down to the last couple of seconds to get their dishes on the 7 plates for the judges.

There were several approaches taken by the chefs in tackling the ingredients to come up with a cohesive dish.  The winter squash was the first item for each chef to prepare, as it takes the longest to cook to a point where it becomes ready for a plate.

During the competition, you could tell that each chef came to certain decision points, where they weighed their options.  The chef would either stand for some second contemplating their next step, or go over to the pantry to look for inspiration in the great stock of ingredients.

As I had the privilege of being able to photograph the competition on stage, I also had the pleasure of enjoying the aromas that were being developed in each chef’s dish; I’m sure each dish tasted as good as it smelled.

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Eating in judgment!

After the judges, some of whom are previous Worcester’s Best Chef Competition winners, finished tasting and conferring, Chef Bill Nemeroff of the International Golf Club and resort in Bolton, MA, was declared the winner.

Congratulations to all chefs, as each performed magnificently!

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

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