I Want VIP Access to the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition!

Do you love watching cooking shows? The food? The excitement? The judging?

Me too! Ever since I was a little girl in Tokyo when these shows were still Black and White. (Yes, well before Iron Chef!) I even learned how to read all the difficult characters (thousands of them) from my grandma’s cooking magazines!

So I was jumping up and down when I got the invitation from Foodbuzz (where I’m one of their Featured Publishers) to enter a challenge to win the chance to attend their “The S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition” regional competition in Las Vegas on Thursday, February 4th and the final in Napa on March 5th – 7th, 2010.  This event gives top culinary students from around the world a chance to showcase their skills to top chefs, culinary experts and media, and the opportunity to win cash and a paid apprenticeship with a top chef to jump start their career.

As many of you know, I love anything to do with cooking and food, AND anything to do with culture. This event gives these talented people from around the world the opportunity to get a jump start to their culinary career – I’m totally in! My friend’s nephew from India got a similar opportunity at Gary Danko, now he works at Four Season’s at Dubai, and is on his way to become a world famous chef! I would love to witness other culinary students like him inspiring these established top chefs and culinary experts.

As someone born and raised in Japan, an avid world traveler, a graduate from the top international MBA graduate school Thunderbird, and a home-chef who cooks and eats dishes from around the world every day since I was young, learning about different food cultures around the world is truly my passion. On top of that, as a life-long student of self-improvement, to witness these young chefs living their dreams and making it happen, this is THE event made in heaven for me! I’ll be inspired by their wonderful creation, and would love to make their recipes into something easy and do-able in an ordinary kitchen. I love making up dishes from my imagination as well as recreating what I eat and see on the menu (you can’t eat everything) from restaurants around the world – so it would be a fun project, even if they may be slightly different, I’m confident that I can capture the spirit of their dishes. I will post recipes and techniques for dishes that could be made from the original versions.

This is a true win-win-win situation for all involved. These young, talented chefs learn from the top chefs, and in return they leave their footprints from their country or region with that particular restaurant or chef to make their dishes more interesting. And we as diners get to benefit from that amalgamation and S. Pellegrino gets great PR! A corporation like S. Pellegrino sponsoring an event like this, 8 years in a row is very admirable. I would love to see more companies give similar opportunities to young, talented, hard-working individuals!

So how would I spread the word, and create the buzz…

I have a very special plan!

When I win the VIP access to the Almost Famous Chef competition, I want to share my VIP access to others in the form of live telephone interviews with the contestants through a giant conference call line and webcast! I would also love to conduct telephone interviews with the representative(s) at S. Pellegrino about the event as well. By inviting the public to attend these interviews live (maybe even solicit questions from the public), they will get to know of these young chefs’ passions, inspirations, and vision at very personal level, and create more buzz about the event. We can make the recordings available on the Event site, so that anyone can listen to it, even after the event is over. We can even make the recording available on the websites of the culinary schools these contestants are from, to inspire other students.

Of course, all of these happenings with the event will be announced on my regular blogs as well – KitchenWizardMari.com, and my Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard at SFGate.com blog, plus on my Facebook profile, Kitchen Wizard Fan Page and Twitter. Of course, I will work with FoodBuzz and S. Pellegrino to come up with the best way to promote this to as many people as possible.

So that’s my plan! Please send your best wishes toward Oakland. When I get picked, and get the opportunity to conduct these interviews, you will be the first one to know!

Follow all the LIVE action on Twitter! @afchefcomp

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