Monday, October 13, 2014
The Couples Cooking Competition is a fast-paced, hands-on cooking competition designed to give couples the opportunity to test their skills for the chance to win fabulous prizes and the title of Orlando’s Top Culinary Couple. It is held at Aggressive Appliances, (617 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL) which is right down the street from.
Presented by Edible Orlando and the Orlando Date Night Guide, the contest will give couples the chance to compete in one of the 3 qualifying rounds, with one winner from each semi-final cook-off advancing to the finals. Contests will be judged by local food personalities and writers like Katie Farmand, editor of Edible Orlando, Joseph Hayes, the Orlando Magazine dining editor, and Chef Israel from Second Harvest Food Bank.
Aggressive Appliances looks like an industrial warehouse from the outside, but inside, there were gorgeous, fully appointed, state of the art kitchens where the couples could compete. Each dish this evening had to include chicken. A table was set up that held key ingredients like spices and oils and a second table was covered with a cloth to hide the secret ingredient table. I decided to sketch kitchen 2 which came with a TV which was playing the cooking channel. The couple I sketched prepared a roasted chicken with a sweet potato chili hash. An appliance staff person was on hand in each kitchen to explain how to use the equipment. There was only one hour for the competitiors to get their dishes ready.
Only five couples get the chance to compete in each semi-final round. On this evening there was going to be one winning couple and two wild card couples that would move up in the rankings. That made the chances of winning, 3 in 5. Each winning couple receives complimentary admission to the finals. The couples crowded around the ingredient table taking the supplies they needed for their recipes. Everyone was polite checking to be sure they weren't taking ingredients another couple might need. Two couples agreed to split the rice.
Prizes for the winning couple include, a two-night gourmet getaway to JW Marriott, Grande L There was no elbows or punches thrown. The contestants then returned to their kitchens to start slicing dicing and cooking. The showroom filled with sumptuous aromas. iPhones were allowed in this semi final round but in future competitions there would be no digital crutches. The couple I sketched did refer to their phones a few times. Dishes would be judged on presentation as well a flavor. One couple kisses when their dish was done.
The the overall winners will get dinner for two at PRIMO, breakfast each morning in Citron, An American Brasserie, and two spa passes to the Ritz-Carlton Spa. Other prizes include a Sub Zero wine cooler, Tassimo coffee, system, Meile canister vacuum, KitchenAid stand mixer. Arti Kalidas and Chirag Kabrawala won on this evening with their twist on a Moroccan tagine.
Proceeds from the competition support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Entry includes all food, sit-down dinner with wine after competition and a fabulous swag bag filled with surprises. In other words, everyone is a winner. I went home and popped a frozen lasagna in the microwave for 10 minutes.
Mark Your Calendars!
The next competition qualifying round is Friday, October 17, 2014 and it is sold out.
The big Final Round is Friday, November 14, 2014 (A limited number of tickets will be made available to those wishing to attend the finals as an observer. These tickets will go on sale Oct. 20)