Caesar Salad Martinis, Sliders, Tandoori and More at the 29th Annual Caesar Salad Competition
Photos by Mai Pham Et tu, Brutus? Some of the entries from the Food & Beverage Managers Association of Houston's 2013 Caesar Salad Competition.
How many ways can you make a Caesar salad? This past Friday evening, Houstonians were treated to a total of 19 ways at the 29th Annual Caesar Salad Competition, held at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.
The event, hosted by the Food & Beverage Managers Association of Houston, has become an annual tradition in the Houston food world. For a minimal fee, entrants get to duke it out Caesar salad-style for bragging rights in a blind-taste contest whose proceeds fund scholarships in the culinary arts.
The fact that the judging is blind levels the playing field, ensuring that every entrant is critiqued by the same criteria: look, taste, and either creativity or adherence to classic Caesar style. This year, there were five entrants in the classic category, and 14 entrants in the creative category.
Photo by Mai Pham Houston Club's winning entry; students at the Hilton School of Hotel & Restaurant Management.
As one of the judges in the competition, I can say that the strongest differentiating factor in the classic category was taste. Almost all of the entrants looked the same, though there were slight differences in the cut of the salad (big chunks versus small chunks), the viscosity of the dressing, the flavor and crispiness of the croutons, and the way in which the cheese was sprinkled on top.
The winner among the five classic entries, The Houston Club, scored high points for a uniform coating of creamy dressing, coupled with small, easy to eat pieces of chopped romaine lettuce, and a healthy dose of freshly grated cheese.