Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Katherine Alford of “Ultimate Recipe Showdown”

Katherine Alford of Ultimate Recipe Showdown

Ultimate Recipe Showdown on Food Network has entered it’s sizzling third season. Hosted by Guy Fieri, of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Guy’s Big Bite, this series challenges the 24 top contestants to chop and mix their way through 6 recipe categories: Comfort Food, Party Food, Hot & Spicy, Burgers, Cakes & Desserts and Hometown Favorites. 

Katherine Alford is not only the Food Network’s Test Kitchen Director, but also a judge for the Ultimate Recipe Showdown. Each week the judges crown a winner to take home a $25,000 prize. In addition to learning that she hates split pea soup, I got some insight into the world of Showdown. 

How would you describe your average day in the Test Kitchen?“Every day is completely different because we’re not like a restaurant where the food is always the same. We talk about the recipes we will be tasting and start cooking all morning long.  We have a tasting at 1pm…could be 1 or 2 dishes and we give feedback. If we can, we have another round of tastings at 4. The honest answer, we eat all day long!!” 

This year, contestants submitted 8,000 recipes for consideration.  Katherine, and some 10-15 other ‘tasters’, weed these 8,000 down to the top 100 for each category.  “I think it’s wonderful to put home cooks out there and put out the whole idea of home cooking in America.” 

Which category were you looking forward to as a judge and which one were you dreading?“My favorite category always, and the one I really advocated with the producers, is Hometown Favorites. It’s really interesting to see what people are cooking across the country. I liked the idea of promoting local food and local cuisine. Comfort Food satisfies pretty quickly so I feel a little heavy after that. That’s a lot of mac and cheese!” 

If you had to add one category, what would it be?“Fish. That’s because I love eating fish. I’d love to see more seafood. I think people are super-intimidated by fish and there are so many categories and cool things to do with it.” 

Katherine wants everyone to remember, “It’s gotta taste good. It’s gotta say wow, I want that second bite.” Presentation and originality play a part, and technical skills have to be correct, but she is looking for “a recipe people will want to prepare at home.” 

“I love my job! I like to be hands on in the kitchen. As a cook I get to play in all different genres and I would never want to give that up.” 

Ultimate Recipe Showdown airs Sunday nights at 9pm Eastern on Food Network.

posted by funfoodwithmonica at 12:16 pm  

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