This is part two of the post I took forever and a day to write; and this one didn’t come as quickly as I wanted it to either. C’est la vie..
(This is part two, the last part. So savor it… )
We could do nothing but wait. Wait and drink and wander the maniacal Fremont St. Experience. We packed up our stuff, loaded it into the rental car and set to wandering. Well, and drinking.
After cleaning up back at the duplex, we headed back to Fremont St. to await the awards presentation. Oodles of cooking teams, still decked out in their team gear and splattered with frosting, BBQ sauce or both, were milling about and huddling near the stage in the middle of the street. We joined the throngs, frozen mixed drinks in hand, tired and impatient. Elderly and middle-aged couples in khaki shorts and visors streamed past, bumping into us as they tilted their heads up to view the eagle screaming across the gigantic video screen.
Finally, the marketing director for Kenmore Elite (the brand of cooking equipment that graced the Kenmore Kitchen Coliseum) and the president of the World Food Championships took the stage, all glitzy smiles and coiffed hair.
I’ve known my fair share of less-than-easy-to-deal-with ladies, but this broad may take the cake. She strutted around onstage in her three inch heels, flipping her blond mane and gesticulating wildly with whatever hand didn’t happen to be holding the mic. But the kicker, was her voice—high, nasally, WAY too loud and saying nothing important or relative at all.
We were about ready to jet when she finally started announcing the categories and winners. One by one winning teams streamed by, and our category came and went. And we didn’t place, as you may have guessed. Because if we had, wouldn’t I have written this post sooner? Touted our win, gloated a bit, congratulated our backers? I would have, and rightfully.
Previously, after the judging of our first dish, we found out that we were in place #18 out of forty. Not exactly what we had hoped for, but we were positive about the ‘Chilly Con Queso’. Surely it’s inventiveness, delicious texture, super science-y technique and odd but awesome flavor combination would win ALL the judges over.
But they didn’t get it. They must not have appreciated our play on words, the ode to our town of Austin, TX–spicy and cool in it’s own right; the queso-like flavor of the smooth ice cream, the tart candied jalapeno bits, the slight but present sweetness that somehow paired perfectly with the spice.
The winning dish was a cordon bleu. Nothing inventive, boundary-pushing or even really that interesting apart from being a generally tasty dinner dish. But maybe it just tasted so good that the judges didn’t care about our story or our creativity. They just wanted to eat something that tasted good, that most Americans could cook and would want to eat, that they could put on a Food Network-like cooking show. That’s not us. That’s not the Brett and Paul combo that spawned some of these rad dishes.
We spent our last day going to the Hoover Dam, briefly checking out the neon museum, drinking on patios, slottin’ it up and gambling at seedy and unseedy casinos, eating fancy French dinner, shopping for gifts at the world’s largest gift shop and naughty store and generally checking out the view.
I guess we’re okay with the results now, though frankly it took a bit. It feels disappointing to ourselves and to our supporters (financial and otherwise). We know blah blah blah we did awesome blah blah Brett and Paul are really awesome cooks blah blah we get it. I think we all just REALLY wanted to place. We wanted to surpass our own lofty expectations and make everyone so proud they’d freak.
Months later, we’re looking on to other food competitions. We’ve done two local competitions this year, and were semi-successful at best. But it’s onward, and again we’re feeling positive and interested in trying some new things this year. So thank you, a heartfelt crazy thank you, to all of you who believed in us. The Cream Team lives on!!!