Competition 8

Three main ingredients.

  • Squid
  • Shallots
  • Rice

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What can you come up with?

That was the question that I asked my cooks for the “Concurso 8″ (8th Competition).

Every now and again, I like to arrange an internal cooking competition, where any of my cooks can enter. The rules are simple, they have to come up with a dish that uses the three main ingredients, they can also use other ingredients, but the three main ingredients have to be prominent.

They need to present three dishes for a judging panel of 6. They are awarded a maximum of 50 points from each judge, 25 for the use and originality of the main ingredients, and 25 points for the presentation and gastronomic value (taste) of the dish.

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It was interesting to see the use of the ingredients. No particular type of rice was specified, therefore the cooks had the opportunity to use a wide range of different types if they wished, for example Thai Hom Mali, Spanish Bomba, Italian Arborio etc..

The creativity was wonderful to watch. Many of the cooks dried their rice to make crackers and other various crispy versions to be used as garnishes.

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Tri-coloured Rice Popcorn using Arroz Salvaje (Wild Rice), Bomba (cooked with saffron) and Hom Mali. Next to the rice you can see Shallot Powder, made by deep frying the shallots, drying then blitzing.

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Rice Chips, made with rice powder and flavoured with carrots, garlic and spinach.

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There was fried shallots, roasted shallots, braised shallots, shallots cooked in reduced sherry wine etc…

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Squid was cut up in to small chunks, fried in butter before risotto rice was added.

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The risotto was cooked with coconut milk. The squid is the same colour as the rice, camouflaged,  which gave a pleasing surprise texture on the finished dish.

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The risotto technique was also employed to make an “Arroz a la Marinera” (Seafood Rice, not to be confused with Paella).

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Spanish rice replaced its Italian cousin. This rice was cooked with a stock made from fish bones and shellfish shells and scraps, giving it a very nice and intense flavour.

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Each cook had a set time to present their dishes. On this occasion, two of the invited judges were from a Spanish gastronomic magazine, who also sent their own photographer to the event.

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Carpaccio of Rice cooked with squid ink was the base for second placed cook Alba´s presentation.

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Thick cut squid rings were filled with a creamy shallot and cheese mixture.

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A detail of Alba´s dish.

Carpaccio de Arroz con Tinta de Calamar, Calamar Rellena con Chalotas y Crema de Queso, Reducción de Oloroso con Chalotas, Crujientes de Arroz.

(Carpaccio of Rice with Squid Ink, Squid Filled with Shallots and Creamy Cheese, Reduction of Oloroso (Sweet Sherry) with Shallots, Rice Crisps).

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Kit plating what would be the winning dish.

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The winning dish by Kittirat.

Calamar al Curry, Chalotas Caramelizada, Sorbete de Chalota Cítrica, Arroz Negra con Calamar, Palomitas de Arroz.

(Squid cooked with Curry, Caramelized Shallots, Shallot and Citrus Sorbet, Black Rice with Squid, Rice Popcorn).

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Congratulations to Kit and Alba and the rest of the cooks!

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From right to left: Dries, Siobhan (intern), Baltasar (intern) Kuchi, Pascal, Maribel, Khamsene, Kittirat (winner), Agueda, me, Alba (1st runner up), Juan (intern).

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Other entrants in the competition included:

Agueda´s Arroz a la Marinera con Calamar y sus Amigos, Chalotas Crujiente.

(Seafood Rice with Squid and Friends, Crispy Shallots).

Kuchi´s Tempura de Maki de Arroz de Sushi al Chalotas y Calamar.

(Tempura of Sushi Rice cooked with Shallots and Squid).

Khamsene´s Arroz Negra Cocido al Consome de Calamar, Cremoso de Chalotas Asadas, Arroz Blanco con Calamar con Coco, Salsa de Chalotas al PX.

(Black Rice cooked in Squid Consommé, Roasted Shallot Purée, Squid and White Rice Coconut (Risotto), Sauce of Shallots cooked in Pedro Ximénez Sherry).

Maribel´S Calamar: Tierra y Mar (Risotto con Chalotas y Crujientes de Arroz, Calamar Relleno en su Gelatina, Chalotas Confitadas).

(Squid: Land and Sea (Risotto with Shallots, Crispy Rice, Squid Filled with its own Gelatine, Confit of Shallots).

Even though Kittirat and Alba took first and second place, in my eyes, all the cooks are winners. :biggrin:

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2 thoughts on “Competition 8

  1. Dear chef, I just discovered you website today and I am so sad not to have heard of it sooner !! Congratulations, your work is full of creativity and I like the idea of challenging your team that way ! I am Lao too, born and raised in France, and I opened a blog a few month ago. I cook rather Lao of French, and sometimes mix both. Thanks for all your tips and the way you modernize Lao food. I will surely follow you on FB.

  2. I really like ur blog …. i’m lao too..and i study in Italy tomorrow i will cook lao food for my foreign friends ..it’s alittle bit difficult for me to find ingredient ,but i’ll try my best …eiei :)

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