Final Table Q&As - Jodi Taffel
Name: Jodi Taffel
Self-taught home cook turned Pro Chef
Titles: World Bacon Champion - 2019 and 2022
Q: When did you first start cooking/develop a love of cooking?
A: Roughly, 2010
Q: Where is your hometown?
A: New York City
Q: Where do you reside now:
A: Monrovia, CA
Q: What or who is your inspiration?
A: It's changed a lot over the years. But I think I'd have to say Julia Child – not even because of her success in the kitchen. Mostly, because she began her culinary career at an age when most people would begin to consider retirement. She also basically created the TV cooking show. And because she wasn't "young & cute" she paid for that pilot out of her own pocket. The woman never let her fears or her nay-sayers dictate her actions.
Q: What do you like about competing in cooking contest?
A: Is it wrong to say that I like to win? I'm VERY competitive. You can't be a successful working actor and NOT be highly competitive. I also like that it let's my be artistic without waiting for somebody to give me permission to do so.
Q: What was the name of the dish that you won your category with?
A: Neopolitan Snow Angels
Q: Tell us a little about that dish
A: Knowing that we were making 1 dish in the same amount of time (we've always been tasked with making 2), I knew I wanted to do something particularly challenging. So I decided to do 3 dishes, rather than 1, and to do some pretty intricate techniques so the judges would know I used ALL the time we were allotted and didn't make it easy on myself. I also took the risk of doing dessert, and planned to be one of the last to turn in, so the judges would really be hankering for something sweet after all the other salty and savory entries.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you faced at WFC?
A: That I didn't have any sous chefs until almost the last week before competition. One of my usual sous chefs was out of the country, another was walking his niece down the aisle on the day of the 1st challenge, an the last was competing in another category.
Q: How many years have you competed in WFC?
Q: What would a win at WFC's Final Table mean to you?
A: When I went to Final Table in 2019 I placed 2nd by half a point. That has kept me up more nights than I care to admit. A win this time would be that "Academy Award" that I've been chasing for as long as I can remember.
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