Monday, June 2, 2014
Diamond Chef: What Culinary Dreams Are Made Of.
I missed the very first Diamond Chef. I'll be the first to admit that. I mean, it was before my Eat Arkansas days, and right after I'd become a full-time writer, and I wasn't on anyone's radar to invite anyway. Besides, I had just returned from a ridiculously long trip to Las Vegas... but that's all behind us now.
No, it was 2009 before I was able to be on-hand for the preliminaries. I remember getting the invitation and wondering what I'd see. You see, I've seen a whole lot of the original Iron Chef out of Japan, and my mind swirled with ideas of a chairman growling challenges at eager culinary masters.
It wasn't like that. It was an event held in the lobby of the (then) Peabody Hotel, two chefs at a time competing against each other with portable burners, pulling stock from a rolling fridge while patrons watched and drank pretty bar beverages. That being said, it was intense, and I thrilled in the fun.
For someone just really getting excited about writing about food, this was a pretty damn cool thing.
It wasn't just the writing, though. I was genuinely excited about the idea of cooking for competition. You see, I've done a bit of that in my time. As I've mentioned before, I have this hobby... I'm a 23 year veteran of the Society for Creative Anachronism, which works to preserve the Middle Ages "as they should have been." It's where I really discovered my love of cooking -- especially for crowds -- and where I learned to research and redact period recipes and cooking methods. And within that hobby, I've had the opportunity to compete against others in a head-to-head competition of this sort.
Yes, that's me to the left. Don't judge.
Thing is, Diamond Chef is a way not only to let these great local chefs go head to head -- it's also a way to garner interest in something really special. Each year the crowd has grown for the event, as our chefs have improved and taken each other on in the spirit of friendly competition and helping others.
This new facility, with its multiple labs covering everything from handling meat to making martinis, is top-notch and truly does rival other cooking schools around the world for all the amazing things it offers.
I will be in attendance; myself and several other bloggers in the Arkansas food world have been invited to attend the event on a complimentary basis in exchange for publicity about the event. I'm interested in seeing what neat challenge Chefs Daniel Capello and Marc Guizol will face. After all, octopus has already been used.
For more information, click here. See you tomorrow night.