A View from the Judge’s Table: Family Weekend Cook Off With Mike Isabella
Like every college student, I have a huge love of food, and you know something? I can just eat it all day. However, I do have to limit myself because I have to watch my health and everything. But sometimes, I just cannot resist free food. Recently, I was asked to be a judge for the Cabrera Family Cook-Off featuring Mike Isabella from Top Chef. My initial reaction went a little something like this “OH MY GOSH ARE YOU SERIOUS?” You could say I was a little too excited to be meeting one of the greatest chefs in the D.C. area. How could I turn down an opportunity like this? To have a celebrity chef cook and let me taste his food was overwhelming. Safe to say, I am not a good cook by any means, but I have mastered the art of making a perfect Ramen dish. Okay, so Family Weekend comes and I was basically nervous about meeting this guy. After meeting him in the parking garage, I contained my excitement and barely said a word other than “Hi I’m Rachel.” By the time we get to the Johnson Center, I was grasping the reality of meeting a celebrity and also starving (yes I was ready to eat some good food).
At 12:00, the teams began cooking, President Cabrera and Alyssa Hotz (Chef Isabella’s manager) versus Dr. Beth Cabrera and Chef Isabella. Throughout the challenge, Chef Isabella seemed so focus yet was enjoying himself. You could imagine how amazed I was at his chopping skills. I mean, I know he’s a professional and all, but there’s a difference watching him cook on television versus watching him cook live. Forty-five minutes passed, and Chef Isabella came down to give us a sample of his dish: a gnudi (pasta filling) in a tomato sauce. Oh my goodness. I cannot convey how delicious his dish was. When he was explaining the components of the dish, he used complicated names and techniques that made no sense to me. Safe to say, I wanted to eat it all at once, but I savored each bite to enjoy the moment. I have always been a fan of Italian food, but this nudi took my understanding of pasta to a whole new level. After the cook off, I got the chance to talk to Chef Isabella. He gave me recommendations for my birthday and even invited me to his Greek restaurant! When a chef makes a recommendation, you have to listen! The cook-off was apart of one of the numerous events we hold in the JC Atrium. Our next program event in the JC will be November 15th (our High 5 event), 12-1pm our Free Money Game Show! We hope to see you soon!
– Rachel Steiner