This month I have the privilege of hosting and judging this edition of Paper Chef. Since I realize that a large numbers of my readers are French speakers who are able to read English but might feel discomfort with expressing themselves in this language (I sometimes still do), I would like to offer my help at translating a short paragraph describing their eventual contributions.
My partner Fufu will help me in the enjoyable but delicate task of judging each entry but before going any further, let’s have a look at the specifics of this edition.
Three ingredients have been randomly selected from the current Paper Chef ingredients list by Owen at Tomatilla. They are:
This leaves the choice of a fourth ingredient to me. Since this is Valentine Day weekend, I think aphrodisiac ingredients are more than appropriate. I will leave the interpretation of what constitute an aphrodisiac to you but I do expect some kind of justification for your choices.
Hence, at the risk of repeating myself, the ingredients for this edition of Paper Chef are:
Rules (I hope I get them right)
- This event was created to be fun. As Owen, the creator of Paper Chef, puts it: “For absolutely only the fun of it and for no other reason whatsoever, the Paper Chef challenges each and every one of you reading this to let loose your culinary imagination and make up a dish of your own. Loosely based on the ideas of the Iron Chef, fond TV favorite in the US and Japan, and on the British show Ready, Steady, Cook! (fond favorite in the UK), the Paper Chef is all about creativity and constraint, challenge and cooking.”
- From this day (February the 10th, 2006) you have until Wednesday noonsih to publish your entry on your own blog and send me an email at “magictofu (at) gmail (dot) com”. Please include your name, the name of your blog, a permalink to your post and, if available, a picture of your dish that you would like to see on the round up (or more simply a link to this picture).
- If you do not own a blog, you can also participate by sending me your contribution by email at “magictofu (at) gmail (dot) com”, I will post them on this blog for the benefit of all.
- Substitutions of ingredients are allowed. If, for instance, you can’t find an ingredient, suffer from food allergies or simply do not like one of the chosen ingredients, do not refrain from participating. Simply select an appropriate substitute which would preserve the original character of the event.
- Have fun, be inventive and let us know about it!
Following some of my predecessors, I have created special prizes for this edition of Paper Chef. They are as follow:
Paper Chef Super Saver. Following the idea set forward by Noodle Cook, this special prize honors cooks who were able to prepare exquisite dishes with cheap ingredients or using inexpensive cooking techniques. If you plan on using caviar, foie gras or truffles, forget about this prize.
Paper Chef Indiana Jones for the most adventurous cooks. This prize has been created to pay homage to cooks who had enough courage to step outside their comfort zone by cooking unknown ingredients or attempting difficult recipes. Note: to win this prize, success is absolutely not required and honesty, in the case of culinary failure, might be rewarded with extra points.
Paper Chef Picasso. This prize rewards the best culinary works or art. You could chose to be as figurative or abstract as you want and even delve into conceptual art. This is the time to revise you high school art class and put your creative energy at work. Note: a picture or a short description of the ‘artistic value’ of your dish is necessary to be eligible for this prize.
Paper Chef Home Cook. Since I have the feeling that people more inclined to prepare home style comfort food have not been sufficiently rewarded for their work in previous editions of Paper Chef, I have created this special prize. It rewards food created for the family table which convey a certain sense of warmth and simplicity. Contrary to what some food magazines want you to believe, such food does not have to come from 1950s’ America; each of us, after all, have our own history and cultural background.
To simplify our task, we would love to read why you think your dishes fit one or more of the aforementioned categories. Put a nice twist on your creation by providing us with a certain perspective and entice our senses. This is not exactly a cooking competition but a food blogging event; as such, pictures, comments and descriptions carry some significant weight. Put us in context, show us your writing skills, entertain us with your whimsical humor, and, more than anything else, tell us about your experience.
A note about the judges.
Every judge and judging panels have their own bias. We believe that we should tell you as much as possible about our own tastes prior to the event.
Fufu, being of Chinese origin, tends to favor strong tastes and especially spiciness. She is also crazy for the very healthy fruits and vegetables as well as the less healthy charcuteries such as sausage and cured meat.
As for myself, being of French Canadian origin, I often crave protein: eggs, dairy products and meat (lumberjack food). Mushrooms and potatoes never fail to please my palate. Unlike Fufu, I prefer subtle flavors and aromas. Finally, again unlike Fufu, I am a total sucker for sauces: pasta sauce, demi-glaze sauce, stews…
These are our own little food bias but we will do our best to offer a fair judging. After reading entries from past Paper Chef editions, I can already speculate that this time again it won’t be an easy job.