Our son Isaac married a wonderful woman from Mexico named Jackie. My family has always had an affinity towards Mexico and the Mexican people, so we were thrilled when Isaac married Jackie. They are currently living in Metepec, a small village just outside of Mexico City. We have had the pleasure of visiting them, both in Jackie's hometown of Zacatecas, and in their new home near Mexico City.
Recently Jackie graduated from a culinary school in Metepec. Part of her final exam was to participate in an area-wide cooking contest, held yearly, between cooking schools in and around Mexico City. As the school in Metepec was new, this would be their first contest (and Jackie would be part of the first graduating class). I'm not sure what was expected of her or her class. I'm sure that the other schools that had been around for years simply dismissed them!
The challenge was similar to 'Iron Chef' on TV, where the contestants are giving ingredients that they have to make up dishes with. Every school was given the same ingredients, and there were three judges--one from Spain--that would be making the final decisions.
There were three parts to the challenge:
First, the judges would watch them prepare and cook the three course meal, and judge them on their preparation and organization.
Second, the judges asked questions concerning the dishes they were preparing--very difficult questions about temperatures and techniques used, even the proper temperature the food was to be served at, etc. To her surprise, Jackie was chosen to represent her class in front of the judges in answering these difficult questions! Fortunately, she did not know until later that the entire session with the judges was being televised and viewed by the entire audience!
Third, the judges would taste the food itself. Keep in mind that in addition to cooking for the three judges, each class was required to cook for up to 100 people who had gathered to support and watch the competition. Each food course was taken to the judges, then served to the entire group that had gathered. Wow!
At the end of the day (they began preparing food for the group at 7am and began serving the judges about 8pm, not finishing until almost midnight), the judges presented their decision. The first group called out on the video was the school everyone assumed would win--they received a minor award for food concept or something. The second group, with black and yellow uniforms, is Jackie's school. They won first place!
We are so proud of Jackie! We have enjoyed her cooking for a long time (she makes wonderful tacos and tortilla soup), but now she has proof of how good she is!
So from all of us: congratulations!