Report from Germany
Today, Brian and I set out to the convention center where the events of the International Culinary Olympics are being held, in Erfurt, which is about 30 minutes away from our preparation room in Gotha. Using the GPS (thank goodness for the GPS!), we were able to make the trip easily.
The convention center at Erfurt was packed â€“ literally full to the brim â€“ with culinary-related presentations, booths, chefs, and the foodie public. The International Culinary Olympics is the largest event of its kind in the world. Despite being weary, it was invigorating to be among so many food professionals! Seeing the work of other competitors was enlightening and awe-inspiring. Iâ€™ve added a bunch of photos of their work to the gallery (note: photos of our entries are not up yet, and captions for everything are coming soon) for your review.
We wandered, mouths agape at the spectacle, through three giant halls full of vendors verifying the location of our table and looking for a few elusive pieces to complete our presentation â€“ a ladle & a couple specific cookie-cutters. We found the cutters we were missing and were able to negotiate with the vendor, who agreed to let us pay him the few Euros that we were short when we return tomorrow. Brian and I also took a few minutes to admire the work of the competitors who had presented their platters that day before jumping in the van and heading back to the preparation room.
When we got back to the hotel, it was time to get Chef Neaceâ€™s presentation together, so while Brian worked on menus and various display elements, I worked with the chefs in the kitchen while they sliced items, dipped them into aspic, and prepared the layout of the platters and plates. This process took several hours as each individual item that appears on the plate or platter is meticulously placed with tweezers.
We worked through the night and left the hotel around 5:00am to drive to Erfurt. I was very nervous driving because the meticulously-plated items were resting on the floor of the van, so it was imperative to drive very smoothly. Happily, we made it to the convention center without incident and got our materials set up with time to spare. Everyone was extremely relieved to have this, the first day of our competition, safely delivered to the convention center.
Then, it was all over except for the waiting. We drove back to Gotha for a few hours of sleep (it is disorienting to sleep from 8am until 2pm!). At 3:00pm, Alan and I drove back to Erfurt to attend the awards ceremony and tear down our presentation.