My Life as a Food Judge: Can I Stomach It?

Imagine having what felt like forty minutes to sample about forty dishesincluding the “Most Unpronounceable” and “Spell Checker Destroyer” winner, Ivar’s Brandy and Chamomile Lox Quinhagak King Salmon, Chrysanthemum, Courvoisier Creme Fraicheand you’ll know what it was like to be a judge for last Wednesday’s Guest Chef on the Waterfront.

Not a complaint, mind you. But what a challenge! It was a whirlwind of food, with servers bringing new tastes even while I was digesting (mentally as much as physically) old ones.

I was part of an esteemed panel of ten judges, mostly fellow food writers, charged with choosed best appetizer, best entree, best dessert, and best overall dish. I had many favorites, including Canlis’ Honey-Smoked Kurobuta Pork with Bing Cherry and Sweet Onion Relish, Ponti’s Thai Curry Penne with Grilled Scallops, Dungeness Crab, Ginger-Tomato Chutney, Fresh Basil Chiffonade, and Matt’s in the Market’s Smoked Sablefish Salad with Creme Fraiche, Capers, Celery, Fresh Herbs, Toast Points. And I liked our winners:

  • Best appetizer: Troiani’s Icy Spicy Calamari Salad (also Best overall!)
  • Best entree: FareStart’s Kobe Beef Slider with Heirloom Tomato Relish on Brioche
  • Best dessert: Toscano’s Almond Frangipane Tartlet with Local Washington State Berries

The slider, by the way, was about the last non-dessert to come to the table. Despite being stuffed, most of us managed joyfully wanted to finish it. Fun for FareStart, the benefactor of the event, to be a champion!

For me, it was a great experience, and a bit of a warm-up for judging the Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon just a few days later. And it looks like there just might be another judging context coming up next week. Stay tuned, dear readersand stay strong, dear stomach!

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