Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why We Fight

In late February, I came across the following page on the JSU website:
I decided that I wanted to compete, so I wrote the following message and sent it in: 

Hi Lynne,
My name is Paul Lindsay. I'm interested in competing in JSU's Battle of the Chefs! 
I can win the competition! And I will win by preparing some of my most palatable recipes. I can cook for a single judge, a group of judges, or for many judges. I can compete with a signature dish, or I can prepare a few of my favorite recipes. I juice fresh fruits and vegetables. I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I make desserts. I have had experience in cooking for people that are able only to drink their meals through a straw. I'm able to either cook and present a dish, or cook all the dishes at the same time and present them together. 
If you would like to read about the first cooking competition that I competed in, please check out my blog: Paul Lindsay's Cooking Blog.
Please feel free to contact me with any additional information about the competition at:
Thank you!
Best Regards,
Paul Lindsay

I received a message on March 5th saying that I would be one of the contestants in the Battle of the Chefs.



The Battle of the Chef's was to be like the Iron Chef television show, and since I had never watched an Iron Chef episode, I felt it was prudent to do some research. I watched some YouTube videos of the show, and I read about who had won in the past and what worked for them. I found a great video of Michael Symon speaking to the students at The CIA about his Iron Chef experience. In the video, Symon says, "I kept saying - big flavors; great seasoning; and be smart." After I watched the video, that's exactly what I planned on doing at the Battle of the Chef's competition.

I asked my friend, Donna, to assist me in the competition, but she had to work on the day of the event. So, I asked her husband, Jeremy, to be my assistant in the competition. He accepted. 

To Battle

On the day of the Battle of the Chefs, Jeremy and I arrived early and started planning our menu. I decided that we should cook something simple, and also something that I was familiar with. Grilled shrimp and fried pineapple shish kebabs with a side of guacamole sauce would be my appetizer. My entrĂ©e included grilled lemon pepper chicken with sides of cauliflower, peppers, and toasted Italian bread. 

Click here for the results. 

In Retrospect

I learned a lot from competing. The biggest thing was not to serve something until I have tasted it. This is something that I had prepared for, but just failed to do during the event. I'm a fan of Gordon Ramsay and his television show Hell's Kitchen. He is constantly telling (and sometimes yelling at) the contestants to "taste everything before you serve it!"  I don't like eating in front of people, especially when they are all watching me cook. Knowing this, I devised a plan that would ease me into sampling the food before I would present the dishes to the judges - I filled a ceramic mug (one that I made this semester) with plastic sampling spoons. I put it at the front of my table, but I didn't use it at all. I cooked all the food, plated it, and served it - no taste testing. 
If I would have tasted the shrimp, I would have realized immediately that I had forgotten to put the Cajun seasoning on. After the awards were given out, executive chef Brian Cosby approached me and said, "everything was cooked perfectly, but I heard some of the judges hit you for unseasoned shrimp." I knew to put Cajun seasoning on the shrimp, I had the plastic cup filled with the necessary amount. I forgot to put it on, and then I forgot to taste it before I presented it to the judges. 

To Victory

I had a great time competing! When I return to Jacksonville in 4 years to make more ceramics, I look forward to trying out for the next Battle of the Chef's!


  1. Very interesting, I like reading about how you prepared.
    Sucks that you forgot to season the shrimp, I'm sure you will blow them all away next time.

  2. Your posts are always a joy to read. You always include so many visuals and your page is vivid all by itslef. Good job! :)