Saturday, June 6, 2009

Challenge #3: The Cook off

I am pleased to announce, that the BLUE TEAM pulled out another win today at our 3rd Challenge. It was a Cooking Challenge hosted at Montgomery College's Marriot Hospitality Center and sponsored by Whole Foods.

We began preparation by meeting at the Whole Foods in Rockville with Susan, the Marketing Rep, Claire and Mrisho our Coaches/Chefs last Tuesday. As you know Tuesdays we weigh-in so we were all starving by the time we reached the Rockville Whole Foods. Susan quickly ushered us to Whole Food's awesome salad and hot bar where were filled up our containers and grabbed a drink. We headed to the "back room" which was a true kitchen.

Once there, Claire began going over the recipes and proper cutting techniques. We then decided to break the dishes up as follows: Tina/Susan - Appetizer, David/Jen - Main Course, and Rich - Dessert. By now Mrisho joined us and coached Susan and Tina with some tips for making their appetizer: Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla's with Feta as Claire worked with David and I with our dish: Sautéed Chicken with Mushroom and Spinach and Feta. Rich began examining his dessert: Oatmeal, Sunflower seeds, and Coconut cookies. After Claire finished with David and me, she provided Rich with some helpful hints regarding his cookies.

We left pondering our dishes and some of us even did a trial run at home to see if we could pull it off. Today's competition was more stressful than I imagined. There were 5 judges, 2 photographers/reporters, Access Montgomery County TV crew, 3 Montgomery College students, 2 kitchen managers,3 Whole Food's reps and the two teams and their families. I was ready to say: Get out of my kitchen. I think that is what made it stressful for me.

We had a 1/2 hour for prep (cutting all of the mushrooms - thanks Susan, slicing all of the jalapeño - thanks Tina, measuring out all of our ingredients, and just getting ready). At exactly 10am, we began our cooking for an hour. At 11am on the dot, we had to put down our utensils and the judging began.

It was a little tense just making sure we were following the recipes and not forgetting anything. The brown Basmati Rice was making me nervous because it took almost 50 minutes to cook. When you only have an hour, it doesn’t leave much room for error. Tina and Susan look like pros making their Quesadillas. They showed awesome team work. And Rich was so smooth with his cookies that they were out of the oven and we tasted them with plenty of time to spare. David was my calming factor as he just kept a clear head and always asking what else was there to do. He amazed me with his composed hand as he sautéed the chicken, mushrooms and spinach. I felt more like a chicken running around with my head cut off.

We plated and displayed our food with seconds to spare. It looked really good. I got nervous when the Red Team won the coin toss and chose to go first. I knew that cold spinach would not taste very good.

After the judges deliberated, the Blue Team came out victorious. I wonder if the recipes had anything to do with it as most of the comments were about the flavors, but I thought the Red Team did an excellent job on their oral presentation about their dishes. We did well too with Susan’s expertise and Rich’s sense of humor. The judges even overlooked me calling our Basmati rice, Balsamic rice – and thanks to Susan for setting me straight.

This means that the Blue team earned about 0.5% added to their total weight loss and the Red Team earned a 0.3% for second place. We have had 3 challenges and the Blue Team has won all three. Yay!!!!! Team Blue!!!

The next challenge is set for June 14th and it is an Outdoor Fitness Challenge. The Blue Team is ready, although we are not quite sure what to expect yet. I do know that we will give it our ALL!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your team win! Sounds like a fun experience!