First of all, check out my mad Photoshop skillz:


Second of all, ahoy! Welcome to the newest sensational project from your sensation-loving gourmet. This one should prove to be a lot of fun. Unless I get sued, in which case it will cease immediately.

Here’s how this works:

1. We will (hopefully) get a good cluster of interested participants.

2. Each week there will be a challenge. The challenges will be broadly interpretable and therefore will only be as expensive and time-consuming as you make them. You can’t buy your way to victory here! Unless you send me a personal check for $1000, in which case you are the winner. (E-mail me privately for details).

3. The challenges will be varied and will not be cook only. For example, I might challenge you to “eat something daring.” Then you will go eat something daring and come back and report on it.

4. Oh, this is a good time to mention that digital cameras, while not required, are much encouraged. How else will we be able to judge your efforts? So if you don’t have one, maybe borrow one from a friend?

5. Eliminations will be made (as they are on Survivor) each week by the Survivor participants, who will e-mail me personally who they want to eliminate. However, Amateur Gourmet readers will be able to immunize a particpant each week too. This will be done in the comments section for that week’s entries. That way everyone gets to participate.

6. The winner will receive a gift from our corporate sponsor. Who’s our corporate sponsor? Good question! If you run a corporation and would like to sponsor Amateur Gourmet Survivor 2004, please contact me directly. Otherwise, the winner will surely receive something nifty—Fruit of the Month Club membership, maybe?

7. Finally, participants should be amateurs only. No accomplished chefs allowed! The more amateur you are, the more you will be rewarded for participating.

So, in conclusion, sign up in the comments section below if you’re interested! This promises to be a lot of fun. Include your name, location, and cooking/food experience. Sign-ups will last for 24 hours and then tomorrow (Wednesday) I will announce the first challenge. Participants will have until Sunday to e-mail their contributions and then voting happens Monday. If too many people sign up (which I sincerely hope they will), we will do a mass elimination. But let’s cross that bridge when we come to it, shall we?

Until then, welcome to the next chapter of the Amateur Gourmet experience.

53 thoughts on “Announcing: AMATEUR GOURMET SURVIVOR 2004”

  1. I’m in! My name is Cate and I live in Michigan. I have a cookbook collection that fills up an entire wall in my apartment but somehow I still end up ordering out every night.

  2. Sign me up! Are you participating Adam, or are you just running the show?

    Here’s my info:

    Name: Amanda

    Location: NYC

    Experience: lots since I got to grad school(3 years ago) and had to start fending for myself…

  3. Yay! Count me in.


    Evansville, IN

    I’ve been cooking about 13 yrs and reading cookbooks since I became literate.

  4. I’ll try, even though I don’t really have access to a kitchen at the moment.

    Name: Catherine

    Location: Singapore (I really live in California, but I’m studying here for a semester)

    Experience: A couple of years.

  5. Sign me up. I add the exotic touch to your bland team. I am Indian, and in Calcutta, Asia. My info:

    Name: Plumpernickel (until the time I become real, real famous)

    Location: Calcutta, India

    Experience: Cooking since 4 years and the Internet is the only cookbook I have.

  6. Wendy, living in Toronto.

    Learned to cook from my Dad, but no formal training was included. Can follow recipes but don’t know which spices match what food combinations.

  7. Im in! I do not have a digital camera, but I will try and arrange to get one. I have been cooking for twenty five years, but mainly the kind of “Get something on the table, the kids are starving” stuff. Recently I have discovered that – gasp – I can cook for pleasure and to please MY tastes.

  8. Ooh, I want to play! Brian, New Yorker at heart, New Hampshirian by force. I’m 27 and I work from home. Which means I’m cooped up by myself all day with nothing to do but download 7,463 different recipes to make in my new ramekins. And plot my impending global domination. In that order.

  9. Hmm…I’ll give this a try, although my free time is limited and my digital camera is currently not working.

    Name: Keteri

    Location: Boston

    Experience: I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but only get around to it extremely sporadically.

  10. Fun! w00t.

    Felix Lev

    Seattle, WA

    Cooking experience? Please. I’m 19 years old. I can bake alright, as I learned how at my mother’s elbow (I lie them down on the counter next to me whenever I cook. Those disembodied elbows are are a good luck heirloom). I can, um, stirfry. Microwave. Sort of roast. Well, I am the most amateur of the lot of you, and that is a talking point indeed.

    I am digital-cameraless. However, I will describe my caveats in great detail. Okay? Okay.

  11. name: pasdquoi

    location: philadelphia, pa

    experience: limited. I have just started cooking (mostly with the help of, although most of my experiments have come out all right so far.

    free time: some

    digital camera: yes

    restrictions: I am vegetarian (no fish or meat, but dairy is ok).

  12. Chris

    British living in Finland

    General old fashioned home cooking with occasional delusions of grandeur. Cooking on and (mainly) off for 6 years.

  13. Count me in! I obsessively collect cookbooks (have about 500) and sell cookbooks on eBay, as well. Used to own a gourmet foods Have written a couple unsold ones, too. Friends and family rave about my cooking, but I am a better cook than baker.

  14. Name:Sara


    Experience:Love to cook, but no formal training. My husband is my guinea pig for recipes.

  15. I hate to break the chain here but i just wanna ask…Dallas, do you go to IU? I’m from NY but I’m an IU student

  16. Sign me up! All I can say is I watch the Food Channel.. a LOT.. mostly I like to cook regular, “down home” food…but now that my boys are grown and it’s just hubby and I.. there tends to be a “little” leftover now and then….. we have the best fed dog in town!


  17. ** Sorry about being off topic – just a quick reply to Emily **

    Yes, I’m currently a grad student at IU, though I’m from Raleigh, NC and Boca Raton, FL.

  18. Name: s’kat

    Location: Newport News, VA

    Experience: Raised on processed-cheese foods and cream-of-crap-creations, I ran screaming from the kitchen, never looking back, until just a few years ago. Slowly, with the care and tutelage of concerned friends, I learned that steaks needn’t be charred to blackened ash; that fruit wasn’t just a flavouring for drinks; that whipped cream didn’t come from cans. I’ve come along way, but baby, I gots a long, long way to go…

  19. I want to play too, but I think I’ll just observe this time – maybe if you decide to do this again I will have replaced by digital camera by then.

    It does sound like fun. :o)

  20. I wanna play!

    Name: Amanda

    Location: Atlanta

    Experience: Some. . . I cook alright. Usually I just talk on the phone to my mom the whole time and she tells me what to do. I can bake great, though!

  21. Sign me up! “Outlast, Outcook, Outeat!” That’s MY moto!

    Name: DesertRose

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Experience: I am part of the way through a patissier certificate but by no means professional. I’ve been cooking since childhood, but since I’m a lady, I can’t mention my age. I also run a local foodie group.

  22. Name: Marzia

    Location: New York City

    Experience: I cook and bake for myself mostly, and i make the best brownies ever.

  23. Classically trained in Paris by my host mom when I studied abroad, and reared by my mother, who is the queen of making a gourmet meal when everyone thinks there’s nothing in the fridge, I’ve evolved into a single woman who never does anything but steam vegetables, make quesadillas, and grill fish. I do bake from time to time, but I always bring it into work. Monthly subscriber to several mags. Love Food TV, especially the barefoot contessa.

  24. Come on and pick me!

    Name: Stacy

    Location: Oregon

    Experience: I’m a college student. I make mac and cheese… but I have some mad Korean food cooking skills that I know you want to check out! And, I have a credit card for fine dining! Mmm!

  25. This sounds a like a lot of fun!! Sometimes I plan Iron Chef by myself…that is sort of what this is like but with others.

    Name: Melissa

    Location: New Orleans

    Experience: I’ve started cooking when I met my current boyfriend 4 years ago. Now I consider myself very good. I also come from a long line of wonderful Cajun cooks but my mom never showed me how.

  26. name: harry

    location: israel

    experience: fell in love with cooking about six years ago…i am the master of the grill and know when to use direct heat and when to use indirect heat.

  27. Name: Andrea

    Location: Long Island, New York

    Experience: I like to think I’m a good cook. It does not always work out as planned. No formal training, just the basics my mom taught me and what I’ve gleaned from cookbooks. Mostly, though, I like to eat good food. ;)

  28. Woo, what a fun idea!


    Seattleish, WA

    No formal cooking training and Mom only taught me how to scramble eggs, so I guess that makes me self-taught. I enjoy cooking and can throw together a decent meal with or without recipe, depending how complicated the decent meal has to be.


    Nick Allen

    Philadelphia, PA

    I made scrambled eggs at age 7, didn’t cook until I tried making cookies at 13, burned my hand, didn’t touch a stove until 17, made fajitas at 17 and have been a FORCE for the past 5 years making all sorts of kitchen disasters go from “theoretical” to “full-fledged real disaster”. Seriously, my cooking is hilarious, I WILL WIN WITH HUMOR!

    I’m not good in the kitchen, but I love to try :)

  30. Hey, I’m Yet Another Sarah who wants to play. I’m on the outskirts of urban Idaho (yes, you learn something new every day!) and I’m kind of a theoretical cook, meaning I gather and horde great quantities of recipes that I don’t get around to making. I’m also picky so half the time I don’t like what I’ve made anyway. Except ice cream. I always like the ice cream.

  31. Great idea… love the Photoshop logo!


    CT (right outside of NYC)

    Not sure if I can participate, I did attend the Culinary Institute of America and graduated with a degree in culinary arts. But I’m not cooking professionally now, so it’s up to you. I’m happy to just watch if I’m deemed not enough of an amateur. :)

  32. This sounds so fun.

    Name: Maggie

    Location: Charlotte, NC

    Experience: I used to cook a lot, but have not cooked for a three or four years now. I do like food a lot.

  33. This is so cool!

    Name: I’m another Cate (I’ll be CateATL).

    Location: Atlanta

    Experience: I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember. I love food and I only have one limitation, I have no oven at the moment. I guess that can be part of my challenge!! :)

  34. Dang, you have a lot of people, but I want to join in too.

    Name: Jessica

    Location: NY, NY

    Experience: I typically cook a meal once a week (which becomes my dinner for that whole week). I’ve been baking for 9 years and like to make my own snacks. For example, I’ll make my own peanut butter, granola bars, and am thinking about baking my own bread every week (rather than buying those expensive NY loaves).

  35. I want to join the club. Do we get bumper stickers?


    Melbourne, Australia

    Once a year, at Christmas-time, I cook a big huge meal, invite all my family around, and demand compliments. Often I make porridge for breakfast.

  36. ross

    washington dc

    i have a habit of buying kitchen gadgets that are rarely used. Most recent purchase: double boiler.

    skill level: amateurish.

  37. Count me in (although do we get allowances for the time differences accross the world?)!


    Singapore, Republic of Singapore

    Skill level: No formal training, but I do love cooking and try to do it at least once a month for my friends! Eating’s good too.

  38. Me wants ta play too! :)

    Name: Mavis

    Location: Malaysia

    Eats out most nights due to getting home too late and being too tired to cook. But when there’s time, cooks nice, simple and wholesome Chinese dishes to be served with the customary steamed rice, or a mean pasta (yum!). Quite obviously enthusiastic about food, given the fact that am food writer and have the Amateur Gourmet on own blogroll. Will try anything once.

  39. As long as I don’t have to eat anything dead, I’ll give it a shot! I’m Kelli, from Orrington, Maine (near Bangor). I have 30ish years (God, that makes me sound old!) of general home cooking experience, but never got too excited about it until I went veg about 10 years ago. Now I have a house full of cookbooks and recipe clippings, and my boyfriend jokes that we’ll have to add onto our apartment if I buy too many more cookbooks. I love baking most of all, but am up for just about any cooking/eating experience (except for the dead stuff!).

  40. Vidiot


    Desultory cook, enthusiastic eater.

    (My mother used to cook in test kitchens and is an awesome cook — I enjoy cooking, but never seem to do that much of it.)

    And life is somewhat hectic lately (busy busy with work and an upcoming move), but I have a new digital camera and I might be able to squeeze a little time in.

  41. Name: Sara, again, so I’ll go as SaraInPA

    Location: PA, obviously. Central PA to be specific.

    Experience: Many years of home cooking, and was a part time sous chef at a cooking school for the public for 4 years.

  42. Name: Laura Llew

    Location: Hendersonville, North Carolina

    Experience: Would that be experience with answering this because the site keeps deleting my comment after I hit submit? Because if so, then I have a lot! With food though: None. Except that I’m from the south and have thus eaten enough fried foods that would make a normal person keel over from clogged arteries and high cholesterol by the time I was eight. Does this count as food experience? Oh, I believe IT DOES!

  43. Side note to CateATL- I’ll be CateMI. The even funnier thing is that my oven is set to cook at only one temperature and that is the self cleaning one. Last month I cooked (Cremated) a half frozen 14 pound turkey in two hours. Apartment maint. can’t seem to fix it.

  44. Name: Karin

    Location: California

    I would love to play! I should warn everyone that I will probably kick your butts because I am the Heidi Fleissiest of eaters. Actually, my skill in the eating could be mitigated by the fact that I am very bad at cooking. I just remembered that antagonizing your opponents is a good way to get kicked off the island.

  45. This was just a clever ploy to get over 50 comments on one entry, wasn’t it?

    Name: Fae

    Location: KY

    Experience: I found a Culinary Institute of America t-shirt in a thrift store. I like to wear it and pretend I know what I’m doing.

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