Last night I judged Kenmore Live Studio‘s latest edition of Cooking Combat, a show that pits two chefs against each other in a timed challenge. Contestants are evaluated on originality, presentation, and flavor; however, their ability to interact effectively with a mime and sass the moderator also came into play. Audience members received cooking tips, a few low-key product pitches, comedy relief, and samples of each recipe.
In last night’s challenge, Mark Beier of “On The Go Health and Fitness” and Mindy Gohr of Bittersweet Pastry shop and Cafe competed to see who could make the best gourmet dessert using only items bought from a convenience store. They each had a budget of $25 and 25 minutes to present their dessert recipe. Both contestants met their budgets and times handily, and I was pleasantly surprised by what could be made from ingredients at the local 7-11.
I called Mark the “Gallagher of Cooking Demos” for his liberal measuring, stirring and presentation methods – plastic sheeting wouldn’t have been out of line, honestly. He put together a “Hostess Cupcake Sundae”, which was chocolate cupcakes layered with ice cream and faux creamy filling. It was tasty, but I had to ding him for not actually putting the dessert together in front of the audience and for discussing healthy alternatives. I was there for sugar!
Mindy made what she called “Thoughts on a Candy Bar Parfait” — a layered creation of candied pretzels, coffee-spiked chocolate pudding cups, whipped cream and cream cheese, and a Nerd Brittle garnish. Nerd Brittle has now entered my cooking lexicon and shall be something I aspire to use at my next dinner party — invitees beware. She went into more detail than Mark about how each layer was created and even displayed some of her pastry chef fussiness in putting together a clean parfait with distinct layers. She was the undisputed winner of the challenge.
The studio has been around for about a year and regularly produces cooking shows, demos and challenges with area chefs, cooking enthusiasts, and food fiends. The shows are streamed live via Facebook, but are also free to the public if you want to drop by and watch. Check here for future events.