Umami*: Food and Art Festival is a non-profit, biennale event created in 2008. The festival works in partnership with other organizations in New York City to foster collaborations between artists and food professionals. On February 27, 2010 I competed in the Cooking & Art Competition, which pairs together culinary students with student and professional artists
Upon arriving at the preliminary meeting my classmates and I were disappointed to learn we would not be working as a single team. We were split into two teams and my culinary school partner and I were paired up with high school 'artist' and 'professional' artist. Our mission was to incorporate their vision of the secrete ingredient – spaghetti, into a culinary masterpiece. But it was more than just the noodle we had to use we were asked to “dig deep within ourselves to understand what spaghetti means to us.” In, fact we didn’t even have to use spaghetti, just the symbolism of spaghetti.
[Hmm… all that talk and not a single mention of the word ‘umami’]
Coming off a hectic week and an umami fest’eve teammate switch-er’oo our group rendezvoused at Whole Foods at 9am the morning of the competition to come up with a menu and game plan. Three hours later we had exhausted our $50 budget (along with our ability to compromise) and decided to ‘just cook everything’
Our Plan: To cook a variety of dishes utilizing a variety of cooking methods and showcasing the diversity of the noodle by adding a new twist to regional dishes.
The judging panel consisted of Chef Sam Mason, Iron Chef Judge Akiko Katayama, and Martha Wilson the Director of Franklin Furnace. Although we received high remarks from the judges (especially for our “Spaghetti-on-the-Go Appetizer” we ended up loosing to our fellow classmates. However, we did get the esteem recognition for the most sanitary team! And that’s award that really counts, right?