Here's a quick interview I did before the event for urban culture mag BOMBIN's blog: link
Matt's Take-downs have been garnering quite a bit of buzz lately. I don't know which little birdie tipped them off, but Good Morning, America was there to film a segment that aired Monday morning. Check it out here. (My interview didn't make it onto the air, but my entry made it to the studio, where Diane Sawyer and her co-hosts were enticed into tasting super-meaty samples from the Take-down.)
Making enough food for 300 people was a really daunting task. I knew that there would be a crispness factor to consider as well as transporting all that pork product. I decided to riff on my latest favorite combo of bacon and chocolate and made bacon turtles. Turtles are a candy that uses 3 or 4 pecan halves as the turtle feet with caramel to hold them together and chocolate on top. I re-imagined them as a smaller, layered bite. I started by filling a foil cup half way with chocolate then a drop of caramel, a few pieces of spicy, candied bacon and more chocolate on top to seal it up like a truffle. Then I stuck a toasted pecan half on the very top. This turned out to be a really challenging project. The quantity, technique and required assembly put it over the top. But on the plus side, I now know how to temper chocolate, make candied bacon, and boss around an assistant when I'm in the weeds. (Sorry, Krystal - you rock!)
Once again, the competition was fierce! My neighbors at spot #13 also brought the bacon chocolate in the form of spicy chocolate truffles rolled in salty crispy bacon pieces. They were like hot shots in their tiny little clear cups. Our station was pretty exciting and action packed. (note: this is the only photo that has my turtles in it - oops. They're in the bottom left corner)
There were so many creative dishes:
But who is #1 according to the 300 votes cast at the end of the meaty buffet line?
Mike made a heavenly Bacon Bourbon Ice Cream that knocked my socks off. He was planning to serve this amazing creation on top of candied bacon waffles, but electricity problems meant ice cream only - and that's all he needed to impress the crowd. I've heard rumors that there are waffle making parties going on in his neighborhood this whole week...
Of course, no competition would be complete without this guy taking home a prize.
Nick Suarez did it again, tying for 2nd place with Theodore Peck - who also seems to dominate the winner's circle in the world of local competitive cooking. These two have raised the bar for all of us - both with their delicious food and their creative presentations!
It was the most exhausting take-down for me, but well worth it for the fun and food and, of course, the reward:
For a complete list of winners and future Take-down news, check out Matt Timms' blog.