It was a real surprise when I was contacted to be on a Food Network “special profiling a chef in the Keys” last year. I’m not even sure how they came across my blog. All I know is that soon after, on a Monday in December, I was on my way to Marathon to tape the show.
I was told I would be tasting said chef’s food and talking about it. I wasn’t. When I arrived at Tranquility Bay Resort a guy asked me if I was a member of the audience and I quickly realized that this was a contest of some sort. I had no clue until I met the producer that I would be a judge — on a Bobby Flay show no less.
In Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Flay challenges someone who has mastered a dish or type of cooking to an unexpected throwdown. In this case, Flay surprised Jim Brush and Alison Sloat of the Key West Key Lime Pie Company, who thought their business was being profiled on the Food Network.
I was nervous the whole day. Those who know me know that I shy away from the limelight but I felt a little better when I learned that I would be judging with Miami Herald columnist and NPR radio host, Linda Gassenheimer. I wouldn’t be in it alone. We waited for some time while the cooking portion of the show was taped before going in and tasting the pies. The filming went by in a flash and after doing some rather uncomfortable “hero shots” I was on my way back to Miami.
We didn’t know who made which pie when we were tasting them, so no, we didn’t favor Flay as some of my friends have suggested half jokingly. His pie won me over; it was creamy and tart. The addition of pineapple in Jim and Alison’s pie was interesting and tasty but it downplayed the Key Lime. That’s not to say theirs wasn’t good. As for me, I had fun and I’m glad I just did it.
If you missed the episode last night, you can catch it again on April 9 at 7:30 p.m. on the Food Network.