November 13th 2015 was the culmination of the Cono Sur Food Blogger competition where five countries battled it out for the coveted title.
Six countries including Chile, Ireland, Sweden, Japan, Canada and the USA took part this year. The Chilean winner Claudio Varleta judged the final alongside Chilean Masterchef judge Chris Carpentier and a representative from Cono Sur.
The competition brief was to enter a savoury dish paired with a wine from the comprehensive Cono Sur stocklist. My entry was a Tuscan-style baked cod with nettle pesto paired with a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.
I initially got short-listed alongside thirteen excellent competitors in Ireland. Thirteen became three via a public vote (thanks again to everyone who voted) and then luckily enough my dish got chosen by the judging panel to represent Ireland. Many practice sessions and presentation tinkering continued as the final approached. Eventually the day arrived where all the competitors assembled at L’Atelier des Sens cookery school in Paris, we donned our chef whites and the cooking commenced.
In three short hours, each competitor had plated a dish worthy of the overall prize. My heart was literally in my mouth as the judges tasted mine. Our nerves weren’t settled one bit when we heard the winner announcement wouldn’t be happening until later that night at dinner. Sofija Torebo Strindlund representing Sweden who amazed us all with her innovative presentation and taste combinations was announced as the deserving winner.
I am very thankful to you all for voting and allowing me to have an experience of a lifetime cooking and representing Ireland!!