Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hot Dog Contest. Judge Profile: Amy Bandolik

Amy Bandolik is a tour guide for Foods of New York Tours. She is also the author of the blog Delicious Thursdays, where she explores different aspects of the food industry in New York City. Amy will be judging the condiment contest at this year’s Concours de Chien-Chaud.

Have you ever been involved in an eating competition before? As a judge, contestant, or spectator?

Nope, first time! While in the privacy of my own home, I have eaten food like it's a competition, but I've never been involved in a real eating competition, at least not one with an audience and prizes.

The FCI Hot Dog Eating Contest is divided into three competitions. If you could participate in one of them, which would you choose: the hot dog eating; the design-your-own-condiment contest, or the beverage/mixology contest?

The hot dog eating competition! I grew up in a Jewish household where we constantly encouraged each other to "Eat…. Eat…. You're getting too skinny!" [spoken with a Jewish accent].

I love watching other people eat and enjoy the pleasure of food. On our food tours, I get to realize my dream of feeding people the best of the best in New York City. The hog dog eating contest is that…on speed. The condiment contest sounds fun, too. I’d dip mine in chocolate!

Have you ever encountered any hot dog purveyors through your Foods of New York Tours? If so, do you have a favorite?

No, actually. We don't taste any hot dogs on the tours. We walk right past a place called New York Hot Dog & Coffee, which eventually closed, but we never tasted from there. My favorite hot dog is back at my childhood home in the Hamptons, perfected by my dad on our backyard grill. Add a game of pool and volleyball with the family, and you have the perfect summer day.

What's your first memory of eating a hotdog?

While growing up, my family's freezer was FULLY stocked with Hebrew National hot dogs. My older sister used to slice them into thin strips and fry them up in a pan filled with butter. They would curl up and get crispy on the outside but still juicy on the inside. I blame those late night hot dog treats for all of my additional fat cells!

How often do you eat a hot dog nowadays?

It is rare that I eat one. Although, every time I pass Papaya Dog (which is daily because it is a half a block from my apartment), I crave one. I feel like a naughty kid when I do. To this day, my favorite passed party hors d'oeuvre is a hot dog in puff pasty dough dipped in mustard. I sampled those about two weeks ago at my nephew's second birthday.

What's your favorite way to prepare hot dogs?

As I mentioned, my older sister used to slice them into thin strips and fry them up in a pan filled with butter. They would curl up and get crispy on the outside but still juicy on the inside. I was trying the Atkins diet (unsuccessfully) a few months back, and I ate hot dogs this way then.

Favorite hot dog accompaniments? Spicy wasabi mustard is great. And good old sweet Heinz is a food memory that is hard to remove from my palate of cravings.

Aside from hot dogs, what’s your favorite type of food to eat or to prepare? I love sushi, Indian cuisine, and Greek. I also enjoy eating Ben & Jerry's right out of the container with a friend on a stoop on my block on a hot summer night. Lately, I like baking, mostly because it is fun to bring treats to share at parties and for holidays.

If you had to come up with a contemporary dish involving hot dogs on the spot, any ideas?

Hot dogs tempura!

Our competitors will be eating a 30-inch hot dog and bun as fast as they can. Any tips for them?

Lean back. Relax. Lubricate.

Last year's champion guzzled down the dog in under three minutes. What do you think the winning time will be this year?

Two minutes and seventeen seconds

Sarah Johnson graduated from the Classic Culinary Arts Program in May. She hopes to work as a writer in the food industry. Her favorite condiment with hot dogs is Grey Poupon!

***Join us TODAY (Thursday, June 10th) at 3:45 p.m. in the amphitheater to see if Amy’s winning time prediction comes true!***

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