Part 1 of 3: “Preparing for the Competition” – The Bacchus Inn Bed & Breakfast has reason to be proud this week as Lisa Matusiak, our chef, owner, mom, and wife, competes in the locally adapted “Chopped” cooking competition on Thursday, September 15. The event is one of the many Cape May Food & Wine Festival events taking place in Cape May from September 15-25, 2011.
Lisa was invited to compete late Wednesday afternoon with a telephone call from Jan Pask, Vice President of Cape May Historic Accommodations (CMHA), after one of the participants dropped out of the competition. Lisa, although slightly apprehensive, agreed to participate. After making dinner for her family Wednesday night, she prepped the breakfast for the next morning, as she normally does. The breakfast for Thursday morning was Challah Bread French Toast, a sweet dish, for 11 people. After that, she spent some time Wednesday night with her recipe book and watched a little food network to help get her into the creative cooking mind-set.
On Thursday morning, Lisa got JT, our oldest son, off to school. Lisa then did some work for The Bacchus Inn and took care of our youngest son, Ian. After making lunch, Lisa made an iron-on Bacchus Inn logo and ironed it onto a new apron purchased at one of her favorite stores in Cape May, The Cape May Linen Outlet. She then prepped her knives, bowls, and utensils that were suggested to bring by the event organizers and headed, on bicycle, to the “Chopped” event at the VFW hall on Congress St. in Cape May.
Lisa knew little about the other 5 competitors because of her late entrance into the event. The only information that she knew was that all the competitors were Cape May innkeepers and amateur chefs with no formal culinary training. The 3 judges for the event were David Craig of Lucky Bones, Chris Huber of Black Duck and Godmothers, and Jamie Kelly of Island Grill. Each judge is a respected member of the culinary/restaurant community in Cape May.
The competition offered each participant a mystery basket filled with 6 food items that were required to be used. Each participant had use of an electric frying pan, a limited pantry of cooking staples, and the items they brought, which included their knives, utensils, and bowls. The competitors were given 30 minutes to prep, cook, and plate 3 portions of the same dish for the judges to taste.
Coming Soon – Part 2 of 3 “The Competition Begins”.