Final Table Q&A - Casey Jones
Name: Casey Jones
Title: World Vegetarian Champion
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Current Residence: Jacksonville, FL
Q: When did you first start cooking/develop a love of cooking?
A: Many years ago I managed a Denny's Restaurant. As part of their manager training program you had to learn all of the positions in the restaurant. I enjoyed my time on the cook's line and learned timing and basic technique. That gave me enough knowledge to begin cooking at home, trying new things and developing my skills over the years.
Q: What or who is your inspiration?
A: My inspiration is the look on people's faces when I set food in front of them that is unique and delicious. It is a reward for both of us!
Q: What do you like about competing in cooking contest?
A: I've always loved competing and played sports growing up and in early adulthood. There is a thrill that comes with giving everything you have against another team doing the same and seeing who prevails at the end. Even when you come up short, you learn from the experience. About yourself, your team, your strategy, your preparation...the list goes on. Far past my prime to compete in sporting events, cooking competitions give me the opportunity to fan that competitive fire, meet great people with common interests, and put great food on a plate that puts a smile on someone's face. At the end, you get to see who created the biggest smile.
Q: What was the name of the dish that you won your category with?
A: Double Chocolate Mousse with a Peaches and Cream Martini Macaron
Q: Tell us a little about that dish
A: We had 90 minutes to create two unique items that each typically take hours to prepare. When someone goes out for dinner and the server asks if they would like an after dinner drink or dessert, this dish allows them to have both. It was sweet and delicious while offering a hint of a refreshing after dinner drink.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you faced at WFC?
A: The biggest challenge was definitely getting our dish done in the allotted time. We were the last to turn in for our category and literally set the platter on the table with one second left on the clock.
Q: How many times have you competed at WFC?
Q: What would a win at WFC's Final Table mean to you?
A: It would be an unbelievable accomplishment. As someone who works full time outside of the food business it would be a testament all of the other home cooks that when you have a passion for something, you can achieve anything. It would be validation that all of those hours (and money :) ) spent trying things and researching were worth it. Because the majority of that time was spent to make better dishes at home and for friends. But in the end, all of the knowledge that was gained transfers to the competitive landscape.
Q: Anything else about yourself you'd like to share?
A: I became involved in food sport accidentally. As most everyone knows, I was on the plane that crashed in the Hudson and became known as "The Miracle on the Hudson." That back story opened a lot of doors and resulted in my family and I auditioning and being selected to compete on a Gordon Ramsay show, "The F Word." (Stands for food, family, and fun) It was a live show and our first cooking competition was in front of two million people on live television. It is where our team name, "Miracle in the Kitchen" was born. I met Darci Bos who competed on another episode and she introduced me to WFC. And now here we are, headed to the Final Table. All of that because of a little swim in a very cold river 14 years ago.
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