Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dwell on Design Cookoff 2013 - RESULTS POST

I'm just back from the 2nd Annual Capital Cooking Blogger Cook-off at the Dwell on Design Conference in Los Angeles.  The conference is the largest gathering of interior designers and design related industries in North America, so it was a great opportunity to catch up with the latest in the industry, as well as spend the afternoon cooking with some great people.

The competition was a head-to-head single elimination format, and to add to the pressure I was paired with a "surprise guest", Twitter legend Alexandra Williams (@AlexandraFunFit).  Alexandra came in with all the flair and panache of a celebrity chef and did her best to knock me off my game with her infectious personality.  She was an absolute blast to cook with (against) but despite her best attempts to bride the judges with her Tootsie Roll offerings I advanced to the next round.


At this point, last year's Cook-off Champion, Lori Gilder entered the competition having earned a first round bye.  Please excuse the pun, but at this point things really started to heat up.  What was ultimately friendly gathering of food loving design-bloggers began to get VERY serious.  Trash talking, sabotaging.  I mean, just look at the steely resolve in Lori's eyes as she knocks Chef Doug Fletcher's hand out of the way!  What a competitor!

Okay I'm taking some poetic licence here.  It was an amazingly fun afternoon and the more time we spent cooking together the more we started cheering for each other.

Round two was the omelette round, and what my competition didn't know was that I ROCK at omelettes.  We were given an opportunity to request some special ingredients and mine came into play for this dish:  blue cheese and pears.  It's a classic combination and makes a surprisingly good omelette. Stacy Garcia and I were in one group, and Brandon Smith and Lori Gilder were in the other.  The results were a bit controversial in that both Stacy and I advanced to the final round.

Before I get on to the final round I really feel a need to say something about the ranges we were cooking on.  The Culinaria by Capital Cooking is without a doubt the closet thing to a commercial range I have cooked on that wasn't a commercial range.  All burners are rated at 23,000 BTU and since they are open burners the heat is distributed evenly across the bottom of the pans.  Even with all that power you can achieve a very nice simmer (145F) which came in very handy in the marinara round.  We didn't use the ovens so I can't really speak to their performance, but if they're anything like to burners this is definitely a range I would consider for my next kitchen, and won't hesitate suggesting it to any clients who love to cook.

Those BTU's were going to come in handy in the final round because we were about to bring out the wok's and put together a stir-fry!  Asian cooking really needs high heat to succeed because everything happens so quickly.  If your pan cools down you end up making mush, and much doesn't win cooking competitions!

Stacy went to beef & snap peas, I went for chicken & brocolli.  I'd love to tell you the rest of what I put into my dish, but it was all such a blur I can't remember.  Whatever ended up in the wok came out looking pretty good.

The results?  I'll let the judges make the announcement:

Thanks again to Capital Cooking for including me in what was a really cool afternoon.  And what did I do after winning the 2nd Annual Blogger's Cook-off?  My wife & I went to ...

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