Follow Chef Aran on his travels in Europe

Chef EssigA Great Gastronomic European Experience, January 13-31, 2013

Gastronomy: "All encompassing term that refers to the crafts of producing, selecting, preparing, serving, and enjoying fine food."

Sunday is the start of an amazing culinary journey to one of the most concentrated areas in the world for great gastronomy. I am heading to Italy and then to France to learn about the rich food traditions that have influenced the craft of cooking for centuries.

This trip was made possible through a competition offered by MINORS (an industry foodservice company). Through the help of so many colleagues, family, and friends who helped support me during the competition, I WON! Endless thank you's go out to all who voted for me and made this trip possible!

The Grand Prize for this competition was a trip to the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France. Founded by this centuries chef of chef's Paul Bocuse, this world famous Culinary Competition makes those television competitions look like a kindergarten class cook-off with easy bake ovens. The best chefs from 24 different countries put forth all their energy and talents to take home the prize, not just for their team but for their country. You can learn more about the competition at http://www.bocusedor.com. The competition takes place during SIRHA (Salon international de la restauration de l'hôtellerie et de l'alimentation) which is considered the World's Hospitality & Food Service event... one of the largest food exhibitions in the world.

Graciously, MINORS is allowing a guest to travel along on this great culinary experience. I immediately thought of a chef who has opened up so many doors for me, taught me what it means to be a chef, and who has been a great friend throughout the years - Chef Walt Hawley. Along with my amazing girlfriend Eva, the three of us will work our way through the Mediterranean, Provence, and Lyon areas by following our stomachs and enjoying all the area have to offer.

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Prior to having my mind and palate blown away in Lyon, Eva and I will fly to Italy for a week. We plan on visiting the areas of Parma, Modena, Bologna, and Genoa. There is so much to see, taste, and experience in the area that I am sure the experience will be gone faster than a glass of grappa. After our week in Italy, we will take the train from Milan to Nice where we will meet up with Chef Walt and start our culinary excursion of the French Mediterranean, Provence, and then over to Marseille and up the Rhone Valley to Lyon.

I want to be able to share this experience with everyone who has been so supportive so will be posting pictures and stories of anything and everything culinary along the way. Check this site often as I look forward to sharing some great sites and stories.

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Chef Aran Essig, CEC, CCA
Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator