Imagine walking in to a room with a beautiful dinner table set up and plenty of chairs around for your friends and family. You are greeted with wine and think you are going to be watching a cooking demonstration. Now, imagine your surprise when you find out you will actually be participating in a cooking competition at one of the four fully stocked, beautiful kitchens.
Those of you who know me know I am competitive. I like to win. Had I known I was walking in to a competition, I would have prepared. However, I didn’t, so it was time to think on the fly. This was such an adrenaline rush and great team-building exercise.
Cooking Concepts: What is it?
Cooking concepts is a multi-use cooking facility owned and operated by celebrity chef Tre Wilcox. You may have seen him on Iron Chef and Top Chef. Now, he is a single dad that vowed not to work in another kitchen. This is his compromise. Cooking concepts offers culinary team building, cooking classes, event space for parties, catering, and more.
Tre introduced himself and explained the rules of the challenge to us. We would work as a team to create two dishes in 45 minutes. Both dishes had to include the following 4 ingredients: black beans, crackers, marinara sauce, and balsamic. All of the other ingredients would be in a community pile at the front of the room.
Our team had 5 minutes to plan our two dishes and get to work. My team was brilliant and from different backgrounds which really helped when we put our dishes together.
We got to work, each one of us doing something to contribute to the overall dishes. Tre and his team would come by and give us helpful hints and tricks as we were cooking, which was wonderful and intimidating at the same time.
Our first dish, and (spoiler) one of the favorites of the judges was a crusted chicken topped with a marinara, black bean purée (and a hint of balsamic) with lemon asparagus. We used the crackers as a breading.
The next dish was a Mexican shrimp salad with a balsamic, lemon vinaigrette (and a hint of marinara). Isn’t it pretty?
When the time was up, we had to explain our dishes to the judges and group. The judges taste-tested each dish and deliberated while we grabbed food from the delicious buffet (unfortunately, I missed out on most of the food since I was still eating vegan at the time but everyone raved about how great everything was).
Of course, dinner isn’t complete without dessert.
After dinner, Tre announced each team’s position, starting with 4th place. He gave each team suggestions for improvements as well as highlight the things that worked.
Our team was awarded second place! We lost by 1/2 a point. Our chicken marinara was delicious, but our shrimp was under cooked on our salad which cost us major points.
The winning team, which included fellow DFA member Brandy, was awarded a Cooking Concepts gift card and the honor of having the two best dishes of the night.
I love this idea!! This is a great team building event for any workplace, group, or school. Cooking concepts would also make a fun, unique birthday or bachelorette party idea too! Private and couple cooking classes are also available, so contact Cooking Concepts here to read more about what all they offer.
We got to hear a presentation from Robin Plotkin, health blogger for Dallas Morning News, about hydration. It was great because I realized I hit the nail on the head with many of her points on my summer hydration post a few weeks ago.
Thank you Cooking Concepts for hosting us and thank you to Sprouts for providing the lovely gift bags.
To see more photos from this event from myself and other bloggers, check out #SproutsFoodChallenge on Instagram!
Can you do me a HUGE favor? If you liked what you read, could you please share it or comment? Since I have limited internet access on my trip, I can’t share and promote my posts like I can at home. Thank you!
What would you like to do at Cooking Concepts? Is there an event you would like to have here? Leave me a comment below!