Back in Austin

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.

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  1. Bev says

    Welcome back! Missed you around here. 🙂 Sounds like you had a great time in Chicago even though you didn’t win any $$$. I’ve been to Chicago only once (Sept. ’06) and loved it! I look forward to seeing your recipe.

  2. Amy says

    Well, I am sorry you didn’t win, but it sounds like you had a great experience anyway. The recipe sounds really yummy and I remain in awe of you!!! I can barely follow recipes, much less create them!

    Amy D.

  3. says

    I totally recognize Roxanne Chan. When I lived in Cali, she contributed to Sunset magazine a lot. re: your pb cakes. Robin is going to LOVE them. I’ll have to whip them up soon.

  4. says

    Roxanne is a super star! I’m glad to know her.

    Please let me know what you think of the pb lava cakes. I’ve made them a gazillion times and my friend Jen has made them once. I’d like to hear results from others as well. Again, the key thing is to bake them for the proper time. If you only want to make 3, you can cut the recipe in half. It’s also a good make-ahead. Have the cakes ready to bake before-hand, then throw the pan in the oven right at dessert time.

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