Monday, August 16, 2010

Cooking with Tea - Le Cordon Bleu

photo courtesy of John O'Hagan/TeaTime

What a fun day at Le Cordon Bleu last week!  It was time for the "Cooking with Tea" contest that I had arranged with Chef Jae Gruber to help spread the word that tea is more than just a beverage.  This was not the first "Cooking with Tea" contest the culinary college has held.  The idea surfaced a few years ago with Susan McKeen, then editor of Tea Experience Digest.  Susan had asked me to be a judge for the contest she put together.  I not only had the privilege of being one of the judges the contests, but wrote the article featuring the winners of each category.

Le Cordon Bleu was still very interested in having the contest again, but we had two problems: 
  • I was in the middle of writing two books in a year and didn't have time to put a contest together.
  • Since Tea Experience Digest was no longer in production, there was a need to find another media sponsor.  
This is where TeaTime Magazine comes in. Once I finished with my two books, I had time to contact TeaTime to see if they might be interested in covering the story.  To the delight of Le Cordon Bleu and me, they enthusiastically said yes!  After Teas Etc graciously agreed to sponsor the tea needed for the event, things were ready to heat up. 

I chose 9 teas from Teas Etc wonderful line for the students to choose from.  I went to the school for a tasting of all the teas and did a small tutorial for them.  It was fun to watch their faces as they tasted all the different teas.  They could choose up to four different kinds to play with for their recipe.  They could also choose which category to enter: Appetizer, Entree, or Dessert.

photo courtesy of John O'Hagan/TeaTime

As a tea specialist, it is so exciting to spread the word on tea especially to culinary students.  There was so much excitement in the air as the students gathered in the kitchen for the contest.  They had one hour to prepare their dish.

photo courtesy of John O'Hagan/TeaTime
As the students began to prep their dishes, Lorna Reeves (editor of TeaTime Magazine) and I went around to talk to the students about their dishes and how they were incorporating tea into them.  The excitement for the contest was building. 

It was time to judge the students recipes.  On the judging panel was:  Lorna Reeves, editor of TeaTime Magazine, Chef Mekolites CEC, Chef Crump, Chef Gruber, Evening LCB Evening Deen, and Lisa Boalt Richardson, Author and Owner of Lisa Knows Tea. Each student brought out their dishes one at a time. They explained their dish, the type of  tea(s) they used, and their execution of tea in the recipe.

photo courtesy of John O'Hagan/TeaTime
Each one was very different and delicious, but in the end we could only have one winner from each category.  All the winners received a copy of both my books, Tea with a Twist and The World in Your Teacup generously donated by my publisher Harvest House Publishers. 

Do you want to know the winning recipes? Look for them in the January/February issue of TeaTime Magazine along with more details about the contest.  You won't want to miss it! 

Do you have a favorite recipe using tea as an ingredient?  I would love for you to share it!

Happy Sipping and Tasting, Lisa