It is time for the 20th Paper Chef Event. But this time since it is Paper Chef 20, we are also making it Paper Chef 2.0 – a revised version of the event with an adjustment to the ‘guidelines’.
The reason for the update is that we have discovered that certain people have been a little reluctant to take part because of some of the more extravagant creations that other entrants have come up with. We want everyone to take part and to enjoy taking part.
On to the rules/regulations/codes/guidelines….
For absolutely only the fun of it and for no other reason whatsoever, the Paper Chef challenges each and every one of you reading this to let loose your culinary imagination and make up a dish of your own. Loosely based on the ideas of the Iron Chef, fond TV favorite in the US and Japan, and on the British show Ready, Steady, Cook! (fond favorite in the UK), the Paper Chef is all about creativity and constraint, challenge and cooking.
About a week before the event opens, I post an ingredient list from previous events here at Tomatilla! Older ingredients fall off the list, as does anything that actually got used in an event. Those ingredients are ‘banned’ for a month just to prevent the choices being cream and chocolate and cream and chocolate and cream and chocolate and…you get the idea. Any reader of the blog can nominate a new ingredient (one nomination per month per person please) and it can be anything within the bounds of good taste (both kinds).
Three ingredients are chosen at random from the final list and the host (usually me but not always) picks one more ingredient that is topical or seasonal or that suits our whimsy. Then you get a weekend (Friday Noon to Monday Noon) or more to make up a recipe, cook it and post the recipe to your blog. Then post a comment here or send an email to owenl1998 at yahoo dot com to be included in a roundup. Optionally, if you are up to speed on these things there will also be a Technorati tag to place on your post to make it easier for everyone to find posts.
There are now always a couple of base categories and optionally additional categories per month at the discretion of everyone involved â€“ the host, the judge and even the entrants get to suggest a category or two (but please, let’s not go completely insane here). The two basic always present categories are Paper Chef Haute intended for the fancier more complex entrants worthy of a place on the table at your favorite gourmet restaurant; and Paper Chef Home intended for entries that are reasonable to expect any cook to make in a home kitchen for a daily meal without having to scour the universe for ingredients. You are welcome to enter one dish in both categories or multiple dishes in multiple categories.
The previous month’s winner gets to be judge if they want (and is ineligible to win that month but can still enter) and gives out whatever kinds of awards they like. It is also OK to NOT want to judge, in which case I’ll find a judge of some nature for that month.
I’ve had lots of questions about things like photographs. Photographs are NOT necessary to take part. Nor is having you own blog – I’ll be happy to post a recipe for you if you want. However, it is clear that having a nice photograph will help influence the judges – if they see it looking good it is a lot easier to imagine it tasting looking good…
It is also absolutely OK to substitute if you just cannot find an ingredient or if you or someone who will eat the dish has an allergy – just try to substitute with something close to the original to remain in the spirit of the occasion. We know that ingredients are freesh and in season at very different times in different places around the world.
The times are always the first Friday of the month, Noon PST until the following Monday Noon PST. Someimtes there is an extension because of holidays or special circumstances. We aren’t sticklers for timekeeping here – a little late and any excuse will do. A LOT late and you’ll have to have a really good and creative one to do with cats pushing bowls off counters or the like.
So, ingredient nominations for the 20th Paper Chef are now open. The current list to start us off is below.
A spiky plant like cactus (nopales!) or nettles
black fermented soy beans
Something you or a friend grew