I’m ready to eat again! After working 24 and a half hours on my dessert entry for the Quady dessert competition.
The Quady dessert competition requires the entrant to pair their dessert to a dessert wine. This year’s dessert wine was Essencia, an orange Muscat dessert wine from Quady wineries.

What a grueling feat. The weeks leading up to the competition I went on a strict diet. I didn’t speak to anyone outside of work. I didn’t watch Heroes on Monday nights. I didn’t watch any movies. I didn’t send any e-mails. I didn’t check out Vancouver Slop. I didn’t blog for Vancouver Slop. I didn’t go out to eat! I sustained on a diet of staff meals, rumors and mumblings of the outside world, coffee and energy drinks.

In preparation for the competition I tasted the dessert wine with my chefs at work and made some tasting notes. I was red faced and buzzed for the rest of my shift at work. The tasting notes haunted every sleepless night and day nightmares on my bus ride to work. What should I do? Should I do this combo with the wine or that combo? What to do? What to do?

I finally narrowed my desserts down to three from my original eight. I made three different desserts and tasted them with the wine and chose one. Did I make the right decision? Too late, I chose one and was going to stick with it. Plus the competition was less than two weeks away. I made the one dessert three different times, trying my best to perfect it. Here and there I adjusted and tweaked the dessert with some interesting results.

The countdown to Sunday March 8, 2009 had left a huge cloud of nerves over me.
I wanted the judges at the competition to get the very best out of me so I made everything for the dessert as fresh as possible. So, 24 hours prior to the competition time I made every single component of my dish again. I was now a slave to the clock. Oh, and it was Day Light Savings time. I get one hour less of time. Perfect! If there was a competition for who could do the best impersonation of a chicken with it’s head cut off I would win hands down.

Panic! The shakes! I must have looked like an addict but with a fresh shower smell.
One and a half hours before presentation time I packed the putt, putt car.
One hour fifteen minutes: I left for Major the Gourmet (the generous place where they accommodated all of us entries).

Forty five minutes: I unpack the car and set up a table with my dessert components. The panic really kicked in. I had a pep talk from my pastry chef with a few kind words. I wanted to cry and I almost did. I haven’t cried (pertaining to work) since my first week at pastry school.

Half an hour: I started plating with the very best assistant in the world, a very trusted friend. You are a rockstar! My hands were shaking. I remember to breathe. Focus!
Five minutes: I quenelle the sorbet and watch my plates disappear into the judges room.
Presentation time: Cleaned up my table for the next entrant. Packed the putt, putt car.

The competition is over. I thought I would be relieved but I was angry. Angry because I think I could have done better and my nerves had gotten the best of me. Stupid nerves!
Ah! Now it was time to eat. Dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace. Yum!

I went back to Major the Gourmet at 2pm for the judges feedback and the revealing of the top ten and top three entrants. Alas no pictures because someone forgot to charge the camera battery but…there will be pictures coming March 27 of the top three entrants who will be celebrated at the awards luncheon at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival.

Happy reading and happy eating!



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