In 2009 I was invited to be a judge for the Duckathlon V. Judging was good fun, as the competitors did all the heavy lifting and I only had to award or deduct plastic duckies for good deeds, serenades or "fowl play." Teams from top restaurants in the city, le Bernardin, Bar Boulud, Annisa...compete in challenges stationed all around the Meat Packing District. Stations like blind spice identification, mushroom identification, crepe-flipping, prosciutto carving, and just-for-fun challenges like dunking the saucisson into the milk can, or meat twister combined for a fun afternoon. I met Brigit Binns (AKA RoadFoodie) at this event, remarking in my post that she was as sunny as the day was rainy. She was one of those smiles that light up the room.
Later in 2009, I met Ariane again as I got to audit her Cassoulet Class during the French Culinary Institute's New York Culinary Experience. I floated the idea Brigit and I had been hatching. Why not field a team of food writers?
After a brief hiatus, the Duckathlon returned to the Meat Packing District this year. And, it returned with the first ever non-chef team. I should say, all my sister Bird Brains do, in fact, have culinary training. I'm the sole shoemaker in the lot. We decided red caps would stand in for cockscombs, white tops/pants and blue legs/shoes/boots would be our blue feet. We were poulet de Bresse, the famous white chickens with blue feet and red... well you get the idea.
Jane had a plume and penned our rally cry "Plus dans les plumes et rien dans les têtes!
Puzzling over the James Beard Quiz.
Bird Brains' battle cry: "Plus dans les plumes et rien dans les têtes!"
The duck, the whole duck, and nothing but the duck.
NYC icon Leonard Lopate, Lily & Ariane oversee the "spirit" award for Bird Brains!
That's right Moulard ducks (with foie intact) and other goodies were our prizes. Read Mulard, Moulard, Foie - for more on our challenge that day and Duckathlon VI.
And after my butchering (either way you want to read that, I'm cool.) So I broke the foie a little, it was really not an easy thing to remove intact.
Mrs. Wheelbarrow was a judge - you may know her as the genius behind Charcutepalooza.