Judging at the Canadian Food Championships!

So one of the great highlights of my summer so far has been having the privilege and the honour of being selected as a Judge for the Canadian Food Championships.  My journey started when I attended the EAT Certification Course a couple of weeks ago.  This course teaches the EAT methodology to judging (execution, appearance and taste) which is what is used in the World Food Chmapionships (this year in Kissimmee Florida).  This is the first year for the Food Championships to be held outside of the United States and come to Canada.  The winners of the Canadian Food Championships win money and travel and a spot in the Worlds this November where they can win $100,000 so there was a lot at stake.  Gaining my certification made me one of the first 20 internationally certified Judges in the world and got me an invite to judge in the World Championships!  While a previously booked trip to Las Vegas to go see my good friend Elton John will likely impede my ability to attend this year, my passion for food has now propelled me into the "sport" of judging and I will likely attend next year. 

Now lots of people have had lots of questions about the process and my experience which I will try and answer here.  But first, for bragging rights - and for those naysayers that won't believe me unless I have the hardware - here is a picture of my judging t-shirt (yep, I'm pretty proud!):  


Let's start with my EAT certification course.  It was a real delight to be taught by Chef Troy Black and to have the opportunity to spend time with and learn from World Food Championship's CEO and President Mike McLoud - an informative, engaging and gracious man with a great presence and sense of humour.  During our course we were able to judge two of Chef Troy's amazing dishes.  We had a blackened catfish taco and a mac and cheese that was absolutely the best mac and cheese I've ever had (he promised to email me the recipe!)  I'm including some pics of these great dishes but keep in mind that my star photographer wasn't with me and these were taken with my blackberry so they don't do these amazing dishes justice!

Once I was all trained up and certified (as one of the first 20 intenational judges in the world!  Oh, did I say that already??!! LOL) I was off to the Canadian Food Championships.  I was selected to judge both the pasta and the seafood categories.  Can it get any better than that?!  Well, technically, yes, they could have asked me to judge the bacon category as well!!
As an aside, during the middle of this adventure, I left my blackberry at the Sip and Savour Tent during the Food Fight (post and pics to follow) so for the seafood judging I did not have my phone so no pics but I did get some later at the seafood judging - again they are pics taken by me with my blackberry so still not great!
This was my judging station:

And here's the food I got to taste (and some that I judged).  I would love to be able to describe each dish but it's not going to happen!!

The results of the Championship can be found on the website at canadianfoodchampionships.com.

I had planned to write more but my computer konked out a few days ago so I had to go out and buy a new one.  I ended up with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which so far I love, but I am technologically challenged so getting used to it is going to take awhile.  And trying to figure out how to post pictures may be next to impossible for me but I will try!

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