With two of my absolute best friends in life, who know me best and found it in their hearts to support my crazy, I scored high points in my first time ever on the World Food Championship platform! When my name was called first, I literally froze. Luckily, I wasn't cooking anymore because I could not move.
"And in 10th place, Ashley...
-"Man, who has my name?"
-"Is she here?"
Haha! Yes, I'm here silly!
This moment changed everything. I would cook again for a third time, and remain 10th overall in the category. I was prepared, but now with more experience I understand what has to be done to move on up to the Deluxe apartment in the sky of the WFC stage.
1st Round: Chicharron Fried Eggs Benedict with Mojo Pork Belly
2nd Round: Cajun Shrimp and Grits with 'Salt & Vinegar' Okra Chips
3rd Round: Breakfast Tamal con Huevo y Salsas Navidenas
1st Round: Structured Build
Every competitor has the chance to recreate the same dish. I decided to show off my Cuban roots (no, I'm not Cuban or have any sort of Cuban descent, but I'm from Miami. Enough said.) Cuban food culture means lechon y ajo (pork and garlic) reign supreme, so I wanted to highlight it 3 ways.
a. Mojo Pork Belly (that will now be a family recipe I pass down)
b. Canadian Bacon
c. and, a deeeeeep fried poached egg in a chicharron coating!!
2nd Round: Signature Build
This one changed 3 times before I made my ultimate decision. I did an étouffée inspired sauce, and wanted to highlight several food facts about the Cajun cuisine all focused around my 'very much asked for' Shrimp & Grits. I"envied" it by adding crispy 'salt & vinegar' okra chips. Always had to just have that something extra that made it mine and like no other dish the judges had had before.
3rd Round: Infused Ingredient
Being from Miami, I've lived in an international environment my whole life. I chose to highlight the Mexican family tradition of making huge pots of tamales on Christmas eve, but in my Mexican-American version of a breakfast tamal by stuffing it with breakfast sausage, potatoes, and cheese. This one was scored the roughest, but let me say I learned when I need to focus on a sponsored ingredient, I better focus on the sponsored ingredient. Haha. Next year- shooting for that #1 spot, but aren't we all. And, that's what keeps me hungry more. ;-)
Doing my Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles thang, y'all! Or like Simone would say, no, no, I'm the next Mincey!!