A foodie's impossible dream came true for of Napa when he recently won the "Learn to Cook" contest sponsored by the popular cable TV program America's Test Kitchen to promote a new online cooking school.
The contest drew more than 50 applicants, said Steph Yiu of America's Test Kitchen in an interview with Napa Patch. His application essay first put Stanley among the 10 finalists:
My mother is a fabulous cook and growing up, family gatherings, milestones and celebrations were always around amazing meals. Moving out on my own 10 years ago, I began to explore cooking for myself and, slowly but surely, improved my skills to go from frozen meals and foil packets to—as my mom called them—homemade “epicurean delights”! America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbooks were my mentors, and although I used to snub cookbooks that didn’t have full-color-photos on every page to guide me, I found that America’s Test Kitchen’s research, techniques and explanations taught me so much more than just how to cook a single dish. As a nonprofit professional (and teacher at my core), I have shared what I learn about cooking (and the tasty results!) with friends, family and the youth that I work with. I would absolutely cherish (and share) the opportunity to learn to cook with Bridget and ATK!
Yiu said Stanley emerged as the contest's winner because of this story and because "he was just so enthusiastic."
The program flew Stanley to Boston, where he spent a day in the ATK studio kitchen with Test Cook Bridget Lancaster, with whom he "got along fantastically," Yiu said.
Lancaster and Test Cook Daniel Cellucci worked with Stanley on his wish list of recipes: Ciabatta Bread, Raspberry Chiffon Cake, Peruvian Garlic-Lime Chicken, Homemade Mayonnaise, Strawberry Dream Cake, Venezuelan Stuffed Corn Cakes (Arepas) "along with a little lesson in knife skills," Yiu wrote in the ATK blog.
"Bridget had a blast," Yiu said. "Ian is fabulous."
Stanley also turned out to be "very charismatic on video," she added. "We honestly had no idea."
An ATK video of Stanley's day in the test kitchen is coming soon, said Yiu, who kindly allowed Napa Patch to share her photographs and descriptions of the occasion.
In the mean time, Stanley has been asked to demonstrate one of the recipes he learned from Lancaster, at 6:30 p.m. during tonight's Napa Chefs' Market.
"I think he's going to be great," Yiu said.
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