Top Chef Dubai and the final battle Part II

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It was almost a week ago when the final of the battle for Top Chef Dubai happened (see Part I here). Me and the other competitor had 2 hours time and two mystery boxes (thanks to Market and Platters) to execute one main course and one dessert. Considering that every day in the grocery is a mystery challenge I wrote down few ideas of what to cook and how to structure my meals, along with time management.

The mystery boxes was loaded with fresh veggies, fruits, dairy products and three types of proteins – salmon, beef steak and duck breast. I chose to cook the duck breast. Even though it can be a tricky choice ( it can go really dry if you are not careful) I took the risk. I prepared it with tomato marmalade, balsamic asparagus, potato chips, blueberry and basil sauce and cucumber and lime salad. For dessert I prepared Lemon drizzle cake but in its orange version and decorated with chocolate strawberries.

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My dessert
My dessert

The judges were  FooDiva, chef Hedrien, the founder of Top Chef Studio Dubai Nadira Benaissa and Jasmine Bandali Gourmet Editor at Gourmet magazine. Their role was probably the most difficult as both of us served really good food. Of course there is only one winner and I am beyond happy to announce  that it is Me!

It feels good when people appreciate your effort and reward you for it. This first place motivated me more than ever to continue cooking and blogging. I hope you all enjoy the photos I post here and try my recipes at home. Big love xxx

Top Chef Dubai or how I perfected a Ratatouille Part I

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Dubai`s cooking competitions are in their pick obviously . And for this one I decided to write a post as it was so much fun. Top Chef Dubai (www.topchefdubai.com) is a culinary school located on Jumeirah Road (opposite Mercato Mall) and this year they started the first of its kind competition- Top Chef. Selected by their executive chef Hadrien Villedieu the 8 finalists gathered together for a secret cook off challenge.

We were ready to go and Chef presented us the secret till now  dish- Ratatouille. Our mission was to cook our version of it and get creative with the presentation.

All the ingredients were fresh and some of them even organic, imported from France. Studuos` kitchen is every foodies` dream and it was easy to get familiar with the stoves and ovens. We had 5 mins in the pantry room and 90 mins to execute the dish. Me and another foodie are going to the final next week. Pictures of 8 of us and my winning plate are below. You can also find the recipe for this summer Ratatouille. Fingers crossed for the Final!

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My winning plate

Ingredients (for 6 servings)

– 3 eggpants

– 2 red bell peppers

– 2 yellow bell peppers

– 2 green bell peppers

– 5 small courgettes

– 2 red onions

– basil

– thyme

– 1 kg of ripe tomatoes

– garlic cloves

– salt, pepper and 1 tbsp of sugar

– 1 tbsp raisins

– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

– olive oil

– Parmesan shavings

Preparation:

1. Cut the peppers (keep 1/3 of them aside), eggplant, 1 onion and courgettes into slices with the same size. Place them into baking tray put some crushed garlic cloves, thyme, basil and drizzle with oilive oil and sea salt flakes. Bake on 200 degrees for 40 mins.

2. For the tomato sauce chop the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and raisins into big chunks. Saute with olive oil until the veggies are soft. Cook for 20 mins and season with salt and pepper plus a spoon of sugar. Take the sauce out and strain it to get smooth and velvety tomato puree.

3. Grill the remain peppers. Cut them into small chunks add one clove garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

4. Assembly your plate by starting with a spoon of the tomato puree. Make a small tower form the grilled veggies. Add a spoon of the peppers salsa on a side. Decorate your plate with extra tomato puree and finish it with two shavings Parmesan cheese.