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