America's best chefs train for culinary Olympics
June 6, 1996
Web posted at: 5:45 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Holly Firfer
(CNN) -- While American athletes are flexing their muscles for this summer's centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, a Team America of nine celebrated chefs is training for the 100th Culinary Olympics.
Like athletes, the chefs' training involves speed, agility, dedication and discipline. Each of the chefs is an accomplished master who had to earn a slot on the team by winning qualifying events.
Unlike the athletes, the chefs also must balance taste, aroma and texture.
The competition is a mix of endurance and artistic presentation. The chefs must prepare a gourmet three-course meal for 120 people in four hours -- and neatness counts.
Judges shave off points if the chefs have not utilized all their ingredients or if they are 1 second late in completing the meal, which must be served elegantly and efficiently.
The chefs practice once a month to hone their unity and precision.
"Every motion must be thought out ... It is very important how the team reacts in the kitchen," Chef Keith Keough explained. The judges are strict about details. (1.0M QuickTime movie)
To prepare for the main event, the chefs invite 120 people to attend a lavish dinner and serve them their specialty, a uniquely American dish.
Round one is the appetizer: Sweet pea mint flan with a mini crab cake in a spicy bean and lemon aoili broth.
Round two consists of the entree: buffalo meat with roasted Poblano pepper paté and sliced andouille sausage over roasted vegetables.
Dessert is a caramel vanilla mascarpone cream poured on a warm chocolate, a roasted banana and a honey pecan cookie.
According to the guest "judges," the Americans certainly will win a medal. The meal was described as "delightful," "lovely" and "intense."
The competition takes place in Frankfurt, Germany, in September.
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