Top Chef It Yourself, the participants

Here it is. The first post for the Top Chef It Yourself Challenge. This is exciting. So far we have 8 participants, myself included.

Since this is the first dish we prepared ‘together’, it will be a ‘getting to know you’ dish. Here are the guidelines:

Deadline: January 20th

Prepare and blog a dish that’s all about you. There will be no ingredient restrictions for this round. Whether it is the dish you cook when you want to impress friends, or your foolproof favorite, the one that reminds you of your childhood or the one you put together when you need some comfort. It doesn’t matter. You decide what goes into this one, just tell us why you chose that one, that will be your intro to the challenge.

I am encouraging the other participants to add their dishes/posts to this one and I would invite my readers to visit their blogs and read about their dish. I hope you will.

My introductory dish.¬†I’ve thought about this one for a while and I changed my mind about the choice at the last minute. When I think about the flavors in my dishes, I think of my mom and home. I think about food that tastes 100% Panamanian. Foods I would eat on a regular basis. I chose a dish I had already posted: Arroz con Guand√ļ. I think it is my favorite thing.


Brad’s recipe is for Ribs So Good They Make You Wanna Slap Your Belly. And I don’t think he’s kidding. He likes this recipe because¬†it¬†is easy, includes pork, and tastes great‚Ķwhat more do you need?


Christine’s choice was Bumble¬†Bourgignion. This is what she said about it and herself: My dish is a dairy, egg, gluten free¬†and low fat¬†version of Boeuf La Bourguignon. This dish is highly popular with my families and friends, and it has incorporated my love for food and knowledge for wine.


Jan made me jealous with a Choco-Kahlua Flan and I don’t have to tell you¬†it looks like heaven. Here’s a bit about what influences her. Growing up in Southern California with a Mexican stepfather and eventually marrying into an Ecuadorian family has left a definite imprint on my cooking style.¬† Many meals in our home reflect¬†the Latin influences in our lives;¬† rice is ever-present,¬† holiday breakfasts mean tostones¬†and panela¬†on the table, and when it‚Äôs¬†time to make desserts for a special dinner, that‚Äôs when I roll out the flans.¬†

Thas, oh my! It was her recipe I used for the Ham Biryani, and she has submitted another! This time it’s Shrimp Biryani¬†and Carrot Raita. ¬†Her inspiration comes from her first love, shrimp. This is what she has to say:¬† Shrimp is my first love in the food world and Biryani¬†is my favorite dish. I grew up having both of these, catch of the day shrimp and homemade Mom’s Biryani. I doubt if there would be any celebrations or special occasions without Biryani¬†being served in India. I am a person who loves celebration and so biryani¬†is my type of dish. When I made biryani with shrimp, this dish won over my taste buds hands down!

If beautiful color and exotic flavors¬†are your thing, you’re gonna flip over The Masochist‘s¬†dish: Purple Yam Cardamom Cheesecake. It looks divine! Why this choice? Read the commentary: I approach every dish I prepare¬† the same way that I approach painting in that I take color, composition and texture into consideration.¬†In art school, we were encouraged¬†to think outside the box, to experiment, and follow the flow of our ideas even though they may not be popular or well-received by others.¬† I apply this approach in the kitchen as well.¬† I think of ways of what else could be done with a particular ingredient other than its traditional use.¬† After all, ingredients are to a cook what paints are to a painter.

Then there’s Casey. Bringing us a Lavender Creme Brulee¬†¬†all the way from Bulgaria. Lavender infused Creme Brulee¬†is my absolute favorite dessert.¬† I first discovered it in a restaurant in Astoria, New York called “La Sans Souci”.¬† The restaurant no longer exists, but it will always exist in my memories.


And finally, let me introduce you to Bruce & Glennis, they get busy in the kitchen… a lot. Their choice for an introductory dish is Gauchos. They took the description of a disappointing dish offered at a coffee shop on one of those worrisome nights, when a loved one has been hospitalized too long, the news isn‚Äôt good, and time is passing ever so slowly.¬† A few months later they opted to pair the rolled and stuffed roast beef with sopa seca de fideo, and perhaps put picante sauce on the beef rather than gravy and top it with more shredded cheese.¬† And a new dish was born!

Stay tuned as more of my friends add their delicious entries.

12 thoughts on “Top Chef It Yourself, the participants

  1. Amanda says:


    I found you on Blogs by Latinas. I am also on Blogs by Latinas.

    Would you like to guest post on the new BronzeWord Latino Authors Blog. Minimum 500 words/as long as you need. Topic: your book, your art, your work, words, writing, ambition, being strong and independent thinking, life, home, family, and just about anything else you wish. I reserve the right to evaluate the topic. Thank you
    I hope you decide to participate in Blog Brag. Every Saturday I celebrate a blog. Make it yours.

    Write an article of 500 words or more/no limit. Answer 3 questions.

    What is your blog about?

    What motivated you to do this blog?

    What do you offer the visitors to your blog?

    Send the article to me at my email addy. First come/First Posted.

    Thank you for your support and participation.

    u r awesome

    Jo Ann Hern√°ndez

    BronzeWord Latino Authors

    BronzeWord Latino Book Tours

  2. Yum, I love potato salad and this oine looks and sounds so tasty. Thanks for the recipe.

    PS I’m going to ad your url to my “Brad’s Fav Blogs” listing at I really enjoy reading your blog and can’t wait to see more.

  3. This has been one busy month. Meant to submit something. Maybe there’ll be one next month? All the entries look delicious and interesting. We should have scratch-and-sniff monitors so we could know exactly what’s cooking.

    • Hi Sage, Yes, the TCIY contests will continue on a monthly basis as long as there’s a quorum. I would love for you to participate!

      Your mahi looks great, by the way. I’ll have to try it with something other than mahi, not my favorite.

  4. Thanks to ChefYourself for putting this challenge together. I am happy to have had the opportunity to participate. I can’t wait to sample these recipes. I will share my successes! Casey

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