As one of the finalists in the recent Beringer Scholarship Contest, I found Ruth Reichl's appraisal of the recipes we used harsh and subjective ("Students Dish Up the Future," May 12).
The purpose of the Beringer contest was to inspire creativity in the use of ingredients to bring out flavors and aromas found in wine. Scoring by the judges was based on wine and food compatibility, execution of the dish, and presentation with creativity was encouraged in all areas. Use of "fresh, indigenous ingredients" was also mentioned on the score sheet.
It appeared that as a judge Reichl spent more time reading the recipes in front of her than analyzing the compatibility of flavors in the wine and food.
Her worst error, however, was implying that the food we prepared for the competition was an example of the style of cuisine prepared by "a prestigious school," the California Culinary Academy.