What a glorious day!!!! Michael Valencia, owner of Mikey V's Salsa Shop in Georgetown, TX., agreed to be my sous chef in the World Food Championship on October 19, 2019.
The temperature in Dallas, Texas that day was a warm 84 degrees. This has been a long process deciding on what recipe we were going to create and execute for some of the toughest food judges in the world. Come to find out we were the only amateurs going against 9 other qualifiers in the Biscuits & Jampionship category.
We agreed on a Nashville hot chicken, southern style biscuit. Of course we used the hot pepper jam as a garnish. I can't forget to mention that the hot pepper jam is what got us on the map and was the qualifier for this event. I knew they were going to throw a surprise into the competition as most of them do and 15 minutes prior to the start, we were notified we would only have one hour to complete our meal versus the previous two hours. As the time started, we got started on the preparation. We were given two large serving trays which required
one full size sandwich and ten sample size portions. When I started shredding the butter, I could feel it melting right away which is a big NO NO when making biscuits. The goal is to keep the butter as cold as possible. If it melts, you will end up with giant air pockets in your biscuit and it will fall apart. I knew this may be a problem due to the humidity and being in an outdoor setting. I was so grateful they provided refrigeration that allowed me to cool my dough ball for 25 minutes. There were a few other hurdles I knew we needed to overcome to excel in this competition... one of them was the sponsored flour that was required for the biscuits. Jovial Einkorn flour was one of the sponsors and I had never used it prior to 6 weeks ago. I had heard about it before and knew it was a good quality flour from Italy and considered an ancient grain. This means even people who are gluten free are able to enjoy it since it has never been modified in over 10,0000 years. Jovial Einkorn flour requires less liquid than other flours so it was crucial that I practiced and modify my original biscuit recipe. The other hurdle was Mike and I are used to a gas powered range/stove top and the range provided was electric powered. I had a feeling the biscuits may take a little longer in the electric range than gas, so I put my biscuits in a few minutes early, but became extremely nervous when an additional 4 minutes went by and the biscuits still looked 3/4 done. Myself and the chef next to me were on our knees staring in the oven window-willing our biscuits to be done.
As the timer hit three minutes, we started rushing. Everything was done but now the task was making the food look presentable on the serving trays. There are infraction points that can be taken off your total score for things like: not using the sponsored ingredients, food not placed correctly on the serving trays, touching the final product after it has been placed on the judging table and many more. We turned in our trays on time and now it was just a waiting game.
After about twenty minutes of waiting, I noticed one of the "cheferee's" bringing the results to the judges table after the score cards were calculated. There was first, second and third place categories each with a cash prize, along with product from Fillmore Containers and The Jelly Queens. The time came as the announcer (a really cool guy wearing a pink suit) started announcing the winners. I started recording it and getting nervous at the same time, but I knew what we were up against especially seeing all the other competitors wearing their chef uniforms with "executive chef" embroidered on it. Then the moment came-"2nd place winner with a score of 91.5714, Sheri Valencia". It is so funny-I ran up there like I had just won a new car realizing the 3rd place winner did not run up there.
As the day ended-tons of pictures taken, meeting people and exchanging ideas, I reflected on how this all started and how quickly it has grown. Hard work does pay off and the support of your friends and family makes it all worth it.
I would like to thank all of the sponsors and mentors I had through the whole process
Jovial Einkorn Flour www.jovialfoods.com
Challenge Butter www. challengedairy.com
Wholesome Organic Sugar www.wholesomesweet.com
Fillmore Containers www.fillmorecontainer.com
Pomona Pectin www.pomonapectin.com
Donna Collins at www.thejellyqueens.com
Michael Valencia at www.mikeyvsfoods.com
Until next year ;)