What are The Donkay Awards you ask? Well, the "donkay" part is from Season 2 of Hell's Kitchen where Chef Ramsey calls one of the contestants a donkey with his accent. Hilarious! I recently got invited to Audrey's house (Timmy's friend) to cook dinner and watch Hell's Kitchen. See my porkchops post.
Yesterday, Timmy's other friend, Chef Jeff cooked dinner from mystery ingrediants that Audrey bought within a two hour time limit. He's a REAL chef! Imagine my excitement when I find that I'm invited over for dinner and to watch Hell's Kitchen with the three of them. He ended up with a menu that included roasted chicken with a goat cheese and proscuitto stuffing, asparagus and roasted bell pepper salad with an orange vinagrette and simply sauteed assorted veggies. I watched from beginning to end his technique on cutting, prepping and cooking. It was fun talking to him about things from Food Network and other culinary topics.
I brought over a couple bottles of red wine (Dog Tail and Rolling Shiraz). Everyone agreed that the Dog Tail was the better of the two. As we sipped wine and chatted, Chef Jeff finished up cooking dinner for us. IIRC, at one point in the conversation someone called Chef Jeff a donkay because he was taking so long. Then we all started saying DONKAY at random. In order to test Chef Jeff's skills, Timmys printed out some scorecards for us to judge. And from there we decided to make The Donkay Awards to see whose cuisine reigned supreme. Chef Jeff cooked this time and then it would be our turn. Audrey is next after Justyn and I. Whoever gets the highest scores will get a donkay trophy and a gift certificate good towards some culinary shopping. Oh yes... I definitely have incentive to win this competition! If you haven't noticed, I'm really competative.
Well, now that that's out of the way, I can get on with the pictures and review. Chef Jeff definitely knows how to cook (duh!). The chicken came out juicy and tender despite my thoughts on roasting chicken. I suspect mine would always come out dry. The skin helped a bunch and the proscuitto, though a bit salty added yummy flavor that paired well with the goat cheese.
The salad was perfect for a warm summer evening. Crisp and brightly colored. The yellow and red roasted bell peppers added a nice splash of color against the beautiful green of the asparagus. My only comment was that the vinagrette was a bit bland. In fact, I would've liked the salad without any dressing. The veggies were that good!
Polenta served as the bed for the chicken which was surrounded by the sauteed veggies. Now that I think about it, the polenta was good. Justyn and I have a bad palate that demands powerful flavors. The polenta in this case was midly flavored with some salty parmesan cheese, onion and oregano. It was creamy and hearty. The veggies served as a nice side for the chicken, lending some sauce for the chicken.
Everything was perfectly cooked, albeit tons and tons of flavor like I like my food. I think overall, Chef Jeff got high marks for his skills so we'll see how I do next Monday. It should be fun! I hope they don't get me anything weird for the mystery ingrediants.
Thanks go out to Audrey for hosting, Timmys for the scorecards, funny comments and pictures and last but not least Chef Jeff for doing a great job!