Top Chef – London (Ontario)

(thanks to Cathy who already wrote a post about this on her blog. If it weren’t a private blog, I would totally make a link here since you already did all the hard work!)

Every spring, Neil and I get together with our friends Cathy and Steve (and their daughters Charlotte and Sophia) from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Martha and Wayne (and their sons Patrick and James) who live in London, Ontario. Since London is geographically sort of in the middle of everyone, it’s become the meeting place for our get-togethers.

The four of us met in 2000 on an Explore trip to Tunisia. The trip itself was not one of my better Explore ventures, however, meeting Cathy, Steve, Martha and Wayne certainly made up for any shortcomings of the trip itself. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years!

Anyway, I digress… We are all huge fans of Top Chef and last March when Neil and I went to Michigan to visit Cathy and Steve, they forced invited us to participate in a “quickfire challenge” since they wanted to see what we had learned since enrolling in George Brown’s Continuing Education Culinary programme. It was a lot of fun (and a topic for another post perhaps…).

The plan was that teams of couples would draw for shopping locations (gas station, grocery store or drug store), have 30 minutes to shop with an $8 CAD limit and then have fifteen minutes food prep and plating time. The shopping locations? We were able to use any other ingredients that we found in Martha and Wayne’s pantry or refrigerator. Neil and I drew the grocery store which everyone was very envious of but which turned out to be challenging since there was just too much choice! Here we are at the beginning of our challenge:

and here’s what we came up with:

Day-old ($2 off!) Belgian bread bruschetta drizzled with olive oil, toasted with minced garlic and topped with feta, diced tomatoes and fresh basil. Topped off with a little sea-salt and pepper. Yum!

Cathy and Steve drew the gas station and seemed a little concerned. During their 15 minutes, Cathy faffed around in the kitchen with a whisk and a kettle whist Steve chopped away at the table:

They came up with this:

Cold ramen nooodles in a peanut sauce wrapped in a lettuce leaf topped with fresh carrot, cucumber and chopped peanuts. Yum x 2!

After this Steve and Neil had Twizzler palate cleaners (uh, yeah, whatever!):

Martha and Wayne drew the drug store (Shoppers Drug Mart has a mini-mart sections with a fairly good selection of foods. Their mise en place looked like this:

and their final product was this:

Korean pancake with chives and A Taste of Thai spicy noodles. Yum x 3!

No losers here in this competition!

Next spring? The vending machine challenge????

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