Tuesday, May 25, 2010
One of the ways The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas fosters and challenges new culinary and pastry talent is through competitions and scholarships.
The Annual Pastry Scholarship and Competition, launched three years ago by Quincy Adams Erickson, took place this past weekend at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts here in Austin.
This year’s grand prize winner is Jei Grimes from Le Cordon Bleu, Austin who received a $5,000.00 culinary scholarship and will have his recipes featured in the Foundation’s online, interactive cook-book, Plate & Vine®.
The two runners-up, Samantha Wiff, and Susan Gofreed, also from Le Cordon Bleu each carried home $1,000 scholarships. The competition encompassed five different pastry challenges, blindly judged by a panel of experts.
The competition is named each year for a Texas Pastry Chef who has made a significant contribution to Texas’ culinary legacy. This year’s honoree was Pastry Chef Philip Speer at Uchi Austin, following last year’s honoree Naomi Gallego formerly of TRIO at the Four Seasons, and the inaugural year’s honoree, Pastry Chef Mark Chapman of Austin. It was hosted at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin (formerly Texas Culinary Academy).
Meet Our 2010 Pastry Winner!
Jason (Jei) Grimes is a North Carolina native with 16 years of industry experience prior to any formal training. His love for food and cooking was sparked by his grandmother, who introduced him to the basics of cooking and fine dining at a young age.
“Coming from the mountains of North Carolina I was not exposed to much,” he said, “…my dream now is to open a confectioner’s shop.” On the cusp of graduation, Grimes feels that he has a firm grasp on both the business side and now the formal pastry training to go alongside it.
Following the competition, Grimes prepares to go to work that evening. As he cleans up his kitchen space he pauses, “I still can’t believe it.” But he won’t be much time for celebrating, “Tomorrow I’ll be right back here. That’s what this is about.”
*** NOTE: Recipes will be featured in the Foundation’s celebrity chef online cookbook, Plate & Vine® (www.winefoodcooking.com). WFFT members receive special discount pricing.
MEET OUR HONOREE & JUDGE:
PHILIP SPEER – Uchi, Austin
Speer has been showered with awards and praise locally as well as nationally in Bon Appétit, Cooks Illustrated, and USA Today. He appeared as a judge on the Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" as well as part of Chef Tyson Cole's team that competed on the Food Network's "Iron Chef America." Most recently, Speer was named a James Beard Award semi-finalist in the overall pastry chef category.
WFFT PASTRY SCHOLARSHIP FINALISTS:
SUSAN GOFREED & SAMANTHA WIFF
(Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts in Austin students).
WFFT JUDGES & CHAIRS:
Quincy Adams Erickson – Fête Accompli
Aimee Olson – Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Austin
Pat Sharpe – Executive Editor and Food Editor, Texas Monthly
Monday, May 3, 2010
Quincy Adams-Erickson talks about this year's 2010 WFFT Pastry Scholarship Competition
Frankly, pastry is terrifying. In pastry, you have to measure, in pastry you must be exact, in pastry you may not know you’ve made a mistake until the pastry is completely done. In pastry, little sins reveal themselves when you cut into them or taste them…but not before. In pastry, a lot more can go wrong that cannot be fixed. And to fix probably means to start from scratch – literally – and begin again. Like I said, pastry is terrifying.
While I have been a chef for 25 plus years, what I knew of pastry was very little except what I managed to teach myself. And it was terrifying to me. I could never make a cake that was not leaden. My breads would not rise. I never tried to make a pie. My children would ask my friends to make their birthday cakes.
Speed forward many many years. I am now a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, in both pastry and cuisine. After nine months with some of the best pastry teachers in the world, I can do pastry. Slap me again, I can do pastry. Amazing. And fun. So much fun.
Inspired by the amazing pastry chefs in
There’s still time! If you’re a pastry student at an accredited culinary school in
Chef Quincy Adams-Erickson
Chair, 2010 WFFT Pastry Competition