Tag cooking competition

Parties That Cook’s Seattle Event Recap: Corporate Cooking Competition

Happy Friday! For this corporate team building event recap, we thought we’d bring you the story from a different angle. Now, Carolyn takes it away with her first-hand report, all the way from Portland! (Or was it Seattle..?)

We, at Parties That Cook, love a challenge, especially when it involves cooking. So when Bri O., the host of a recent Seattle Microsoft event, requested that we turn their Sumptuous Small Plates dinner into a competition, we excitedly replied, “Absolutely!”

Before long, our team had the 6 cooking stations set up. We welcomed our guests with an antipasti platter and beverages. As guests put on their aprons, they quickly realized that they were about to face off in a cooking competition. Which team would make the best dish using Parties That Cook’s recipes? Only time would tell.

Excitement mounted as I explained how the competition would unfold, demonstrating tips and tricks that would come in handy in their cooking and providing suggestions on how to win (best execution, presentation, bribe, etc.)!

Soon enough, guests were assigned to their teams, had washed their hands, and the cooking had begun! While our inspiring Kitchen Challenge playlist pumped out rockin’ tunes, the PTC chefs circulated through the room making sure everyone was having fun and learning new cooking techniques. Our Server, Elizabeth, captured action shots of the guests while they cooked (to be emailed to them the following day), and made sure everyone was staying “hydrated”.

Delicious cooking aromas filled the air, and a few staff members at the venue, 415 Westlake, poked their heads in to see what all the excitement was about! One team made fresh Burrata, a delicious creamy version of mozzarella, on Grilled Bread, while another creatively executed mini Philly Cheese Steaks with Gruyere Cheese Sauce (yum!). There were also Little Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Crema, Lettuce Cups with Minced Gingered Chicken and Hoisin, Shiitake-Scallion Potstickers, and Ahi Tuna Tartare in Toasted Won Ton Cups.

After an hour, the clock stopped and teams artfully plated their dishes for the presentation table. Each team chose their most charismatic member to present their dish and argue why they think they should win. After the presentations, guests were invited to enjoy their own helping of Small Plates. The room was quickly filled with the sounds of “Mmmm”.

Meanwhile, the chefs tasted, analyzed and critiqued each team’s dish back in the kitchen. The tension was high as the guests wondered how their dish scored. Like always, it was a difficult decision to make. Everyone did an excellent job, but a winner had to be chosen. Ultimately, it came down to the Philly Cheese Steak Team! They executed the recipe very well, worked together when troubleshooting how to get the right sauce consistency, plated up their dish beautifully, and made a second platter with additional toasted bread and cheese sauce (who doesn’t extra love bread and deliciously melted cheese sauce??). Congratulations, Philly Cheese Steak Team!

Each team member was awarded one of our More Sumptuous Small Plates Recipe Decks containing 30 of our favorite recipes, easy-to-read and all in one little box. There are even photos on the cards to show you how the dish will look!

Hopefully everyone will be inspired to bring what they learned back to their own kitchens to share with friends and family. We received many thank you’s and comments about how unique this event was. We love hearing that! Thank you, Bri, for bringing your Microsoft group to join us in a fun and spontaneously competitive cooking party! Hope to see you again soon!

Parties That Cook Heats Up the Kitchen with Chef Michael Chiarello

Earlier this month, guests attended what they thought was our normal Kitchen Challenge event. Little did they know that they would be joined and later judged by none other than Chef Michael Chiarello! You may remember that we featured his book, Bottega, in a past cookbook club, but if not, get the scoop here!

Chef Chiarello skipped a big introduction and surprised the guests by simply sneaking in and wandering around the kitchen while the teams were cooking. Try holding your composure when you have such an accomplished chef-lebrity walking around!

After the cooking, teams elected a spokesperson to present their dishes to Chef Chiarello one at a time. The spokesperson from each team explained why their team should win while our guest judge took his time tasting each dish. Chef Chiarello then thoroughly described what he liked about each dish and what the teams could do differently next time. (One of the keys to great cooking is making sure certain flavors do not overpower others!)

From the Moroccan Bisteeya to the Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies with Smokey Salted Caramel Centers, it was a great menu. Everyone gave a valiant effort, but ultimately, the winner was the Mini Arepas with Oaxaca Cheese and Jalapeno Marmalade team — by a margin of 1 point! At the end of the event Chef Chiarello stuck around and was nice enough to sign cookbooks and take photos with guests (and Rosie). I’m sure everyone at PTC wished they could have been a part of this event!

Which celebrity chef would YOU like to see at a Parties That Cook event? Would your team be able to keep their cool under the pressure from this guest judge? Let us know!