Wow, I don’t know where to start. First of all thanks for all comments, calls, emails, text and facebook messages that I have received after Anne, Lena and I won the title Home chef of the year / Årets hemmakock! And of course my warmest thanks and hugs to Anne and Lena for being such fantastic team mates. I feel overwhelmed, surprised, honoured, and very very happy!
So let me present the home chefs of the year: Team Sörmland or actually Anne, Lena and myself. Due to a business trip Lena wasn’t able to participate in the finals yesterday. While I and Anne were competing, Lena impatiently sat in an airplane heading to the US. But we had a photo of her at our cooking station, so she was still with us in a way :-)
The days before I was quite stressed and nervous, but all nervousness disappeared as we got up on the stage and started focusing on the cooking. We had 45 minutes to finalize our Stockholm chili that we had already prepared with Lena the evening before. Since the main ingredient for the competition was cut of beef from the front part, being quite tough, all four finalists had to prepare the meat in advance. There was also an improvisation moment during the 45 minutes. Ten minutes before we were allowed to start cooking we received a list of ingredients that were available for an appetizer that we had to cook. The list was a bit disappointing, but we came up with a few ideas. We decided to do a mixture consisting of crème fraîche, marinated bell peppers, lemon zest, garlic and black pepper that we wrapped in Serrano ham and placed on a mixed salad with apple cider vinegar and croutons. On top we sprinkled newly fried capers. The minutes passed by very quickly: we started with rolling out dough for our spelt crackers, sprinkled them with Ancho chili and sea salt. Then we baked them in the oven. We prepared the condiments to the chili: chopped onion, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, oven roasted tomatoes and crème fraîche. The filling to the appetizer was prepared, the Serrano ham was filled and rolled and the capers were fried. And most important: the chili was finalized so it would taste perfect. When we had 10 minutes left I started to fear that we wouldn’t make it in time. But with 40 seconds left, we had plated all food and were ready to present 5 plates with appetizers and 5 plates with Stockholm chili to the jury.
It was a challenge to cook on stage in front of 300 people. We didn’t have any water in our kitchens and it was extremely cramped. But we did our best and we were focused while having fun. But still it was a relief to get off the stage and be able to relax. It was lovely t to sit down, drink some water and speak with our husbands. Both me and Anne were quite sure we wouldn’t win, despite the fact that we were pleased with our effort. The jury, well known in the food and restaurant industry, consisted of Kurt Weid, Markus Aujalay, Ingrid Eriksson, Ella Nilsson and Alice Brax. We had the impression that the jury was a bit traditional and thus wouldn’t pick our chili. When they finally were about the present the winner, they only had one bouquet of flowers with them on stage so I thought that we definitly hadn’t won. Then Kurt Weid started reading the motivation. After the first sentence I got even more convinced that it wasn’t us. But when the second sentence was read I became a little bit confused as it suited our entry the best. But still, I thought that Skåne was the winner and I even said it load when Kurt Weid asked the audience who the winner was. And suddenly Kurt said “Sörmland”, loud music started playing and everyone started applauding.
I was taken aback. Surprised. Shocked. Honoured. OMG we won! I can’t describe how overwhelming and happy that moment was. And still is.
The jury’s motivation:
- “The winner has made good use of the raw materials and has in an inspiring way raised taste and consistency to a high level. The modern presentation of the main course becomes a symbol for the province’s development and future.”
Here we have just returned to the kitchen after presenting our food to the jury. One of the presenters, Lisa, is asking questions about our food.
Waiting for the results. Here you can see a part of the audience.
Just a few seconds after we were announced as the winners. You can see our surprised looks.
The photos were taken by Fredrik.