Last night at dinner, at my chef's house, he asked me if I wanted to join him in judging the plates of 16 young chefs at ALMA in Colorno, Italy. I thought about it, and my experiences doing these sort of exams at the CIA and very quickly responded with "Si, Si, Certo!" I was very interested in seeing this culinary school as it is supposed to be the ultimate Italian culinary school.
The school itself has relations with Brown College, the CIA, J & W and the FCI in NYC. The big name ALMA uses is Gualtiero Maerchesi and the school is situated in the Palazzo Ducale di Colorno which was home to people like the Dukes of Parma, the Farnese family, the Borbone family and Marie Louise of Austria.
The judging went well. It was set up into four groups of four. Four courses. 16X4=too many tastes!! The first course was a stuffed artichoke 'napolitano' - there were a few that were good, but I am not a person to order artichokes when dining out - not my thing.
The second course was pasta 'alla chitarra' with a ragu of lamb. There was one plate that stood out from the rest as both well prepared and tasty.
We judged on account of Visual Appearance, Craftsmanship, Taste, Overall Plate.
All in all a fun time. By the end of the meal I felt sick to the stomach - I have never been in such a situation. Next time I will "Taste" much less!
On a brighter note, this weekend is Enoteca Pinchiorri. Do look forward to some photos from one of Italy's most expensive restaurants (note the Pay Pal Donate to me button on lower right of web page!). Enoteca Pinchiorri I think also has the worlds largest wine cellar for a private restaurant. It should be a great time!