You have no idea how thirsty I was. I was in the VIP tent sweltering in high 90's heat. Cadillac had invited me to participate as a judge at the Cadillac Culinary Challenge at Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass. I was hovering with two other food blogger judges in the tent before the event and this frosty bottle was the first thing I grabbed! Then a second! Also on his way into the VIP tent was this little dog who I fell in love with. He looked to me as if he knew full well there was good food in his future!
The food challenge was to be between celebrity Chef Jonathan Waxman, chef/owner of Barbuto in New York versus celebrity Chef Jason Santos, chef/owner of Blue Inc. in Boston. The crowd was seated and anxiously waiting the arrival of the chefs.
Seated right behind me? My new culinary friend.
And suddenly it was under way. Celebrity chefs were at their stations. Sous chefs were doing last minute chopping and stirring. Host Mary Nolan from the Food Network took us back and forth between the two chefs as they cooked, asking questions and telling us what ingredients they were adding. From Chef Jonathan Waxman…..
Over to Chef Jason Santos…..
Once the food was prepared it was whisked out to the crowd to taste.
Chef Jason Santos made this Grilled Lamb with Summer Squash (the secret ingredient) and Tomato Salad with Black Olive Yogurt. The lamb was absolutely perfect. Tender, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The black olive in yogurt dressing is going in my recipe box. Outstanding.
Then we were served Chef Jonathan Waxman's Squash Ragout with Spicy Merguez, Eggplant, Tomato, Zucchini, Onions, Peppers and Gruyere Cheese dish.
This was a favorite with me because I lived in the south of France and this was so reminiscent of the sunny style of ratatouille they make there. His spin on the dish was to add a spicy zing to it with chunks of Merguez sausage.
Now to judge! Mary came over to the food panel and asked each one of us for our opinions and our vote.
You know what happened? Both won. One chef our food panel voted as having the best dish. And the other chef won the popular vote of the crowd in the audience.
Before I left I had my picture taken with Chef Jason Santos…..
…..I said good byes to my new food blogger friends that were on the panel with me….and gave a final hug to my canine friend behind me. The only thing missing was that I didn't have time to take a test drive in the new hybrid Cadillacs just outside the tent. I hope there will be a next time. I had a wonderful time! Thank you Cadillac Culinary Challenge for having me!