When we were kids and shaped little landscapes out of our mashed potatoes or scooted our peas around on the plate until they made a smiley face, our parents yelled at us. Little did they know that using edible stuff to make artistic stuff could serve us well later in life.
Andrea Clover, pastry chef at the Inn and Spa at Loretto
, has made great use of her foodly talents. She entered the 18th annual Chocolate Fantasy Chocolatier Competition and Fundraiser, which benefited the New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque, and took home top honors with her depiction of the Trojan Horse's entrance into the ancient Greek city. (This isn't as random as it seems; the competition's theme this year was The Odyssey
.) Out of 16 chocolatiers from around the state, Clover's creation took first place among restaurants, caterers and artists (the three entry categories were restaurants, caterers and artists; students and schools; and hotels and casinos), which came with a $300 prize.
The official designation of Clover's piece was "Best Taste-Most Artistic." It's easy to see how "most artistic" was decided, but in order to judge the "best taste" distinction, the competition required contestants provide 300 identical bite-size samples for judges and audience members to taste for themselves (there was also a "People's Choice" award). The sculptures had to be 100 percent edible and at least 80 percent chocolate.
Clover has been known to play with her food before; below the jump is the creative chef posing with the to-scale gingerbread replica of the Inn at Loretto that she made for last year's Christmas season.
According to a press release from the Inn & Spa at Loretto from December 2009, the gingerbread house contained 80 pounds of flour, 155 egg whites and 62 pounds of powdered sugar. Eat up!