The sleeping giant stirs….Paper Chef updates and changes

It’s time to try to get back into the blog again. Looks like Paper Chef kind of fell through the cracks – we have some entries though so I’ll do a roundup in the next couple of days and ping our last month’s winner to judge the entries and then I’m going to take up the reins with some changes.

It seems like there are several categories of people who like Paper Chef. But there are two main groups. One is the group that likes to challenge itself very seriously to stretch the boundaries in what they do and use a great deal of technical culinary skill to produce some pretty astounding creations. The other (to which I belong) is a little intimidated by the first group and really just wants some creative kickstart for making a different meal.

I was further convinced that this is a common culinary dichotomy when dipping in to Heat by Bill Buford over the weekend (thanks Mum!) and realising that most places you go out for a meal want to serve you a good dinner but the chefs he describes, like Mario Battali, want to create an unforgettable experience. It is like contrasting wanting to have a good, comforting poached egg on toast with wanting to serve an egg poached in white truffle oil in a lacy, crisp, chickpea flour cup with dots of chive oil and a morel sauce.

Both are worthy aims, but most of us live day-to-day in the world of the scrambled egg – let alone the poached egg.

So we are going to have categories in Paper Chef from now on.

The first, to satisfy the wildly competitive of the world will be the ‘haute’ category – competitive, wild, outrageous and very refined all at once. For special occasions.

The second will be the ‘home’ category – something you make for a meal on a working weekday.

And the third will be non-competitive – all may enter and all will win.

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  1. Owen, I just wanted to tell you that the Swedish version of paper Chef is going for its fourth round this coming weekend! I have made a division in different categories-one overall Winner who gets to judge the following month, one Fast and Good, one Most Creative and then I have added People’s Choice (on the suggestion of Alanna of Veggie Venture) where the readers can vote for a winner! So far it works well!

  2. We had many editions where a number of categories were proposed with great success.

    I believe Paper Chef would simply more fun and inclusive if we had different categories. I don’t believe people should be force to choose a particular category however (like nominating their creation in a single category).

    Many past editions had a variety of categories for ‘prizes’ and a single ‘grand winner’ category. I believe that both the artists/technicians and the home cooks could win the top honours. It is all about the criteria used to judge.

    And finally, I believe that many of us would think of their participation as having a foot in each category. And lets not forget that what passes for fancy somewhere is often someone else’s everyday meal (older generation will remember when Americans discovered French cuisine and younger generations when sushi were at the culinary cutting edge of the American palate).

    All this to say that I like the idea of having different categories but I’d hate to see paper chef turned into two (or three) different events… after all, its all about community and discoveries.

  3. Some very good comments so far – and sorry – I finally had to start moderating so there is a delay in them going up – more ideas and thoughts are welcome – I don’t want to mess things up…

  4. Hi Owen and welcome back!

    I have to admit that I have never taken part in Paper Chef – and I must also guiltily admit that one of the reasons is being intimidated by the awe-inspiring stuff that people have come up with in the past! I am definitely in the “easy dinner for a weeknight” camp and I think the idea of categories is great. Good luck!

  5. Okay, I admit I left that comment “I think that ever since…” that may have prompted this, and I have to say I think it is the perfect solution! Thanks Owen, for making this accessible to everyone…

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