I’m not really what people would call “a good cook.” I am usually good for one thing (that I find on Pinterest, that’s made with tater tots and cheese and bacon, and pretty much impossible to mess up) to bring to a potluck brunch, inevitably causing me to seek validation from my cohorts at every turn. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking from time-to-time, but it’s just not a natural thing for me. So, when I was asked to participate in The Florida Keys‘ Philadelphia Cookoff earlier this month, I was sliiiightly nervous.
You see, that’s because I was competing against real food bloggers, like Roberta and Linda and Iris and so many more, and competing for a crazy prize – a trip to Key West! I knew we’d be tasked with creating a key lime pie, but not much more (I may have blocked this out, though). On the day of the event, we headed over to The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College (4207 Walnut Street) for a day in the life of a chef. Did you guys know you can have dinner at the school? Yes please.
We headed into the kitchen, ate some delicious Key West grub, and got the details of the contest from Bobby Stoky, a Key West chef man. In addition to a key lime pie, we’d also be freestyling a fish dish, which Bobby provided options for in detailed demos (phew). Pat Croce was also in the building as a judge. I told him how I just watched the Iverson documentary and that he was great in it, to which he gave a very funny reply and allowed me to take a photo with him. Amazing.
We entered the kitchen area, and I felt like I was living Master Chef. We could each bring one “secret ingredient” from home to add to our key lime pie, and mine was Whole Foods‘ vanilla almond granola. Original, but, perhaps not the best when premade crust is in the picture. We were given 50 minutes for each dish, while I wondered if that did or did not include time for selfies.
Armed with very fancy professional kitchen supplies, the pie turned out to be not so bad. Thankfully, there were some recipe cards to get us started on our spur-of-the-moment fish creation. I simply whipped up some snapper, breaded with with coconut and almonds, and topped with a mango and coconut salsa. Believe it or not, I was actually pretty impressed with myself.