For our first battle, I wanted an ingredient that was representative of the season and yet posed a rigorous challenge to our collected chefs. For inspiration, I looked to the harvest, and then to the festivals of the season, but repeatedly struck items from consideration because none truly cried out to be part of this inaugural feast. When finally I looked to a cuisine that is very dear to me for inspiration, I realized precisely what had to be chosen. The secret ingredient for this battle is:
So far as I know, these should be readily available to you. As I explained in the rules, I will be accepting proposals (via email) as soon as this is posted, and I will be limiting the number of dishes in each course. I believe that we have six competitors, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how each of you address this challenge.