Second Place is Tops for Me!

If I had known grandson Nathaniel’s pastry competition would be streamed live, I would have moved heaven and earth to find it. I didn’t miss it, though, thanks to grandson David. David was looking at his phone when Nathaniel’s dad posted the link on Facebook. David and I sat there with our eyes glued to the phone screen for the full hour. Oh! M042619 01 Competition logo.jpgy! Was it exciting! This was the fourth annual Iron Chef competition for Johnson & Wales University. David helped me download the video and trim it, so we can show it to John when he gets home from the train club.  The pictures below are stills from the Facebook video

There were four contestants, one from each of the Johnson & Wales campuses. Left to right, they were Darius from Miami, Nathaniel from Charlotte, Alina from Providence, and Zoe from Denver. As soon as they were introduced, the clock s042619 20 Before fourth place announced.jpgtarted. They had one hour to prepare and plate a dessert for the judges. I haven’t watched many cooking shows, but this seemed like some I had seen on TV. The MC chef moved around the kitchen, chatting with the contestants as they worked. This show was sponsored by Rich’s, so the students had to incorporate one product from that manufacturer.

It seemed to me that every time Nathaniel was approached, he responded well. The comment said over and over about him was that he was in control. What better thing to say about a person under extreme pressure! He kept his cool and finished his dessert on time.

At the end, I expected the judges to critique the dishes, pointing out good and bad points. Perhaps because of time constraints, they skipped this step. The chef announced the fourth and third places. That left Nathaniel and Alina in the running, and they turned to shake hands.

042619 21 Handshake between finalists.jpg

Alina danced with joy when she won the competition. One had to be thrilled with her accomplishment. She was a fourth-year student with 042619 16 Winning entry.jpgexperience, and she was extremely articulate while cooking. Her dessert was unusual and was presented impressively.   

The official winner? Alina. First place for me? Nathaniel. He made individual molten chocolate cakes with a strawberry sauce, topped with fresh strawberries. I could almost feel that winning taste explode in my mouth.

042619 17 Runner up entry.jpg

42 thoughts on “Second Place is Tops for Me!

  1. I knew he would get to Iron Chef someday. Congratulations, Nathaniel. The interviewer person, I have watched him compete on the Food Network Cutthroat Kitchen competition. This was a high stakes competition. Way to go, Nathaniel.
    I am sure the other Iron Chef competition is not too far away.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great works by Nathaniel. The proud Grandmother is abeam. The Food Biz is out there for many stars in the field. Finding the right road to open the window of your craft is key. You are a part of this and you need to know that.

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  3. How exciting for Nathaniel and that you got to watch as well. I am curious Anne, do the culinary students need to bring the ingredients for their creations in advance or just send a list of what they will use? Rich’s is cream, maybe half-and-half? I know I have seen cream or whipping cream in the dairy section unless it is something different. I know you are feeling very proud of this young man.


    1. I don’t know the details, but the students didn’t know ahead of time what they would be cooking. Those college kitchens have all the standard ingredients. There was a comment that one of the students wanted mangoes, and that was not available, yet there were strawberries that Nathaniel could use. I think Rich’s sells non-dairy items. Theirs may have been the first non-dairy creamer I used. I liked it because it had fewer calories than cream. I laugh when I think of Nathaniel and what he likes in the kitchen. We buy lots of butter when he is around. He said one time how many pounds of butter he and his dad could go through in a couple of weeks.

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      1. I think they used to sell it in the freezer portion of the grocery store if I remember correctly. We used to use the Land-O-Lakes non-fat creamer on our oatmeal, but Rich’s you could freeze and thaw out, so we never ran out in the Winter months. Oh those buttery goodness treats – well, he can eat as much as he wants on that 6′ 5″ frame. I saw the funniest meme the other day – it was left over from Easter. Two shots – a butter cow, perfect on the left-hand-side and a stick of butter with toothpicks and chunks of butter on the right-hand-side. You had to see the picture to appreciate it. Wish I could remember where I saw it. My mom was all about real butter – we had sweet butter for toast, etc., but for cooking had salted butter on hand.

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    1. It was exciting to watch the live stream of the university Iron Chef. We chatted with Nathaniel after he got back, and he said he noticed that one of the judges kept eating the dessert he had made after the judging was over. I found that amusing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations to Nathaniel! I can imagine how exciting the program must have been, even just seeing the stills is such fun. So glad he has found his calling and that there are special events like these to widen the experience.


    1. I laughed when Nathaniel told us they were instructed to make the program look chaotic. He said there were people everywhere in the kitchen. He couldn’t move two steps without having to dodge someone. You are right about the experience — it was excellent.


    1. We enjoyed sharing Nathaniel’s competition. I asked about the dinner they were given the night before the contest. He was the youngest person there and the only one not to have a drink in his hand.


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