After an exciting weekend of competitive cooking, I’m back home in Austin. The cooking contest, which took place at the Illinois Institute of Arts-Chicago was truly enlightening. We cooked in a restaurant-style kitchen, which was very different than cooking in the kitchen at home. I’ve always looked up to professional chefs, but now I have a whole new level of respect.
IGA, who hosted the event, kept us at the Chicago Hilton, which is huge.
We didn’t spend much time there, though. When we weren’t cooking or eating fancy dinners, we were out seeing the sights – The Field Museum, Science Museum, Shedd Aquarium and watching long-form improv at a comedy theatre called the IO. One hightlight of the trip was eating at Gioco. I left my camera at the hotel and don’t have any Gioco pictures, but it was very nice, food was cooked perfectly and the bartender was very helpful in selecting the right wines.
But back to the competition. The winning dish was an orange-ancho chicken with sweet potato hash. It was beautiful and the judges loved it. My recipe was a peanut butter lava cake. It didn’t win any money, but I still think it’s a great recipe for peanut butter lovers and will post it in a separate post.