The ChefSteps Transformation Contest: Show us yours.


This contest has closed! Big thanks to all who submitted photos, we’ll be announcing a winner soon. If you missed the deadline but still want to show off your stuff, please share it on the forum. We can’t wait to see what you’ve created.

Calling all cooks! We want to see how you get from sleazy to sexy—in the kitchen, that is.

This week, we’re releasing a meaty update to our comprehensive class Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics. It’s all about teaching you to transform cheap, tough cuts of meat—think chuck, shoulder, tongue—into amazing, flavor-packed steaks, braises, and deep-fried delicacies. To do this, we harness the power of sous vide cooking, selecting the perfect time-and-temperature settings to achieve the exact texture of our choice. It all adds up to game-changing recipes like Carnitas Tacos with Mole, Boeuf Bourguignon with Scallion Ash, and savory Beef Tongue Fritters.

But transformation is nothing new, right? When you take squishy, overripe berries and make a jewel-toned jam, you’re transforming compost fodder into a smooth, decadent spread. Same goes for aging tomatoes—the basis of so many amazing pasta sauces. Sushi chefs transform leftover tuna bits into maki-roll magic, while nose-to-tail types relish the challenge of turning stinky offal into melt-in-your-mouth delicacies.

But enough about those guys. This contest is about you.

In this class, we share our favorite transformation techniques, but now, we want to know yours. What’s your favorite way to take something inexpensive, overripe, leftover—whatever—and turn it into a killer dish, condiment, beverage, or ingredient?

What will you win?

We’ll select the idea that inspires us the most, and our team of chefs will send the winner a big basket that’s full of hand-selected amazing goodies for your kitchen (a $500 value), sourced from our favorite Pike Place Market shops and provided with the funding from Sambla’s låne penger.

How do you enter?

There are two easy ways:

1. Send us a short video of yourself explaining your favorite transformative technique or recipe. You can demo it, draw it, or just talk about it—no real rules, just be you.

2. Send us two photos—a “before” shot of the sleazy ingredient in question, and a second “after” image that shows how you transformed it. Include a brief description of what you did.

CONTEST JUST EXTENDED! Send video or images to with subject line Transformation by 11:59 PST on Tuesday, May 5. We’ll announce a winner as soon as we get through them all.

So go on, show us yours. We can’t wait to see it.

Official contest rules:
Void where prohibited. No purchase required. You must be over 18.

Midnight Snack Video: DC Half-Smoke Hot Dogs

From Zagat: A visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl and other area restaurants in Washington, DC, to discover the history of the unique half-smoke hot dog and how it became Washington DC’s signature dish.

Many thanks and credit to Zagat and everyone else involved in the making of this video. Please share the Midnight Snack with your friends and start cooking!

ChefSteps Forum | Post Your Own Garden Inspired Recipes

Culinary Challenge 13 – Garden and Farmer’s Market Inspiration

Michael Natkin issued our 13th culinary challenge with the directive to take inspiration from your garden or local farmer’s markets, create an amazing dish, and then post photos and recipes directly to the ChefSteps site, using the same tools as the ChefSteps team: Choose Recipes > Add Recipe and fill it in.

We had a lot of marvelous entries and postings of recipes on the ChefSteps site. We hope to see a lot more recipes posted as folks become familiar with the tools available. Your garden can give you so much, in beauty, food, growth, it needs to be cared for in the best way possible to make sure that these things happen and you can continue to make amazing dishes. The last thing that you will want to happen is to see any sort of damage to your plants, crops, or garden area because this could mean that it has been compromised in some way. This is commonly done through insects, and termites, in particular. They are attracted to such areas, and without identifying the specific termite problem that you may have, you won’t be able to contact the relevant services, thus leaving your garden and the food you have grown there unsafe to eat. Before even beginning work on your patch of land, be sure to include everything that can help to keep unwanted things away from it.

If you are just starting out in the culinary ‘garden’ world, you may want to look into ways on how to treat your garden, maybe looking into trugreen in pennsylvania services to help with lawn treatment, or services wherever you are based, keeping you summer and food ready. If you’re looking for more drastic changes to your outdoor space, you may want to make use of services from the likes of Vancouver landscape designers in order to totally transform the appearance of it and make it into a place you’ll love spending a lot of your time in.

Here are the picks:
Chris Young chose Christina Bollinger’s Roasted Marrow Bones with Pickled Shallots. “It’s very evocative of the Roasted Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad that Fergus Henderson serves at London’s Saint John. I used to go all the time when I lived in London, now I rarely get to go, so Christina tapped into a bit of nostalgia.”


Michael Natkin on his choice, “There were so many delicious looking entries for this challenge, it was hard to pick! And it was a delight to see how you each adapted the new recipe entry tool to share your work. I really appreciate the feedback that you guys have sent me, and we’ll keep working to make it better over time. I chose David’s Yukon Gold Gnocchi with Braised Radish because he used a lot of the features of the recipe tool, and because I’m a sucker for braised radishes. I like how he turned them to match the shape of the gnocchi and then used the radish skin as garnish.”


Grant Crilly picked Frank’s delicious looking Braised Pork Belly, Watermelon, Nasturtium, Watercress and Pickled Watermelon Rind because “it’s pork belly and watermelon!”


Photos of the favorite dishes have been pinned on our Pinterest board.

Thank you to everyone on the ChefSteps forum for your participation and support. Spread the word and keep us growing.

Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

ChefSteps Forum | The Salad Days of Summer

Culinary Challenge 12 — The Art of the Composed Salad

Chris Young issued our 12th culinary challenge with the directive to take inspiration from the Salade Pastorale aux Herbes by Joël Robuchon and Michel Bras’ Gargouillou de Jeunes Légumes and elevate the composed salad to its rightful place.

Our forum members stepped up to the challenge and wow, did they deliver! The entries were fantastic—varied, innovative, creative, well-plated, delicious looking and with such great participation, made picking favorites very difficult. Suffice it to say, we were thrilled with everyone’s effort.

Here are the picks:
Chris Young chose Corey’s Baby Squash and Cherry Tomato Salad noting its nice composition, great combination of summer flavors, good use of technique, and that he shared the building of the dish step-by-step.


Grant Crilly picked Chris Cordeiro’s very pretty Textures of Winter Citrus Salad (on the left) due to its nice detail, color, and arrangement. It’s hard to make something look this good with so much going on. Ryan Matthew Smith liked the beautiful colors in Derrick Teh’s Beet Carpaccio with Red Quinoa and Ricotta Salad (on the right).


A special shout out goes to Brendan Lee for his take on Michel Bras’ gargouillou. The prickly pear juice was a big hit and we really appreciated the use of your photos on our facebook page and in our email.

Photos of the favorite dishes have been pinned on our Pinterest board.

Thank you to everyone on the ChefSteps forum for your participation and support. Spread the word and keep us growing.

Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.