Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Couples Cook off at Aggressive Appliances.

Kristen Manieri the founder and editor of Orlando Date Night Guide was kind enough to invite M to document the championship finals for the second annual Couples Cook off happened on November 14. 2015 at Aggressive Appliances (617 Mercy Dr, Orlando, FL). Each of the four couples had then own state of the art kitchen in which to prepare their dish. I settled in at The Viking kitchen. I presumed the coup would arrive wearing Viking horn helmets, but it turned out this Viking is a brand of kitchen cabinet makers. I actually knew Rachel DesPlains because she had volunteers to pose to be in the Mennello Museum Mural. She and her boyfriend Mark Mastrangelo prepared a Filipino Chicken Adobo with a red cabbage slaw with orange vinaigrette.. Although I didn't taste it, it looked delicious. Since they were the subject of my sketch, I was of course rooting for them to win. The room became crowded with spectators who s in all the chairs at the kitchen counter. I decided not to sketch the crowd to leave the kitchen and the cooking couple fully exposed.

There were plenty of gourmet bites and spirited sips for spectators while the finalist couples duked it out for the title of Orlando’s Top Culinary Couple! The  Cook-Off, is a fast-paced, hands-on cooking competition, that brought together some pretty awesome home cooks throughout the preliminary rounds in October. After two heated rounds of competition at Aggressive Appliances, four finalists have now advanced to the Cook-Off Finals. People kept offering m food samples but my hands were busy.
Participating local vendors included: Whole Foods Winter Park, The Ancient Olive, Wild Ocean Seafood Market, Orlando Meats, Winter Park Distilling, My Father’s Table Cheesecake, Market to Table Cuisine, Olde Hearth Bread Co., Emma Bean, Quantum Leap Winery and beer from Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen.

Competitors were all given all the same main ingredients, and then the spice and secondary ingredient table was unveiled and contestant wrestled to grab what they needed.  Unfortunately Rachel and he boyfriend came in third place. Matthew and Kristin Cyr were the winners. They walked away with some amazing grand prizes, including a two-night gourmet getaway to JW Marriott, Grande Lakes, a Wolf gourmet blender, Tassimo coffee system, and Miele canister vacuum or a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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