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Let Daniel Be the Judge

Three passionate amateur cooks. Twelve ambitious holiday recipes. And one very discerning referee.


The chef turned critic Boulud.  

It’s one thing to whip up a holiday meal for your family and friends. It’s another thing to subject your culinary handiwork to public scrutiny—and the palate of Daniel Boulud. The three brave souls featured below did exactly that. Each is a passionate, but not professional, cook, who planned and executed his or her own holiday menu, then waited as Boulud rendered judgment. Happily, there was much Boulud liked (though he offered his share of ideas for improvements). For each chef, Boulud chose a favorite dish—the recipes appear below. These aren’t just good amateur dishes. “For home cooks, they could put a lot of chefs to shame,” says Boulud. He also chose a winner. Bravery has its rewards.

The Contestants
Nancy Verdolini’s Small-Plates Special

Jason Wright’s Ode to Fall

Michele Bambling’s East-West Feast

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