If there are two things you need to know about me, especially over the course of reading this blog, it’s that I’m ultra-competitive and I’m a pretty amazing gift giver. If I had to say what my real-life super power is, and not just the one I wish I had (mind-reading, all the way), it’d be gift giving. And so this year, when people started responding “I have too much stuff. I don’t want anything this year,” to my annual what-would-you-like-for-Christmas survey, I knew it was time to ramp it up like I never had before. For my mom and dad, I did hours of research to find the best dining experience Pittsburgh has to offer. For my siblings, it was spending time together making this amazing dessert. For my partner, it was those comedy writing classes he’s been talking about forever. For his family, though, I had to find a unique, exciting something for all of us to do together. I deliberated for a few days, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks: a cooking competition using The Chopping Block’s beautiful kitchen rental spaces. DUH.
Our cooking competition, which took place in TCB’s Lincoln Square Thyme Kitchen, was a two-and-a-half-hour, no-holds-barred, traditional Southern food cooking competition. Fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits were provided, but each team of two people were responsible for making a side dish and a dessert to enter into the competition.
Here’s how it went down
The Team: Colin and Dena
The Dishes: Macaroni & Cheese and Peach Ice Cream
Favorite Part of the Experience: It was so fun to hang out with people we love while doing something different! Especially with such an amazing staff (who helped with cleanup!) and a beautiful kitchen.
Advice for the Next Competition: Put ice cream in smaller containers so it freezes faster! (A tip from our knowledgeable kitchen assistant Teresa)
The Team: Derek and Caitlin
The Dishes: Fried Pickles and Mississippi Mud Pie
Favorite Part of the Experience: Winning! Just kidding, but we loved getting out of our comfort zone to play chef for a while. Getting the chance to eat the food we made was a fantastic memory.
Advice for the Next Competition: Win even harder.
The Team: Mary and Laura (it’s me, ya’ll)
The Dishes: Macaroni & Cheese and Upside Down Molten Bananas Foster with Fireball Meringue
Favorite Part of the Experience: Using a blowtorch to add the finishing touches to the fireball meringue. I got to tick an item off of my bucket list!
Advice for the Next Competition: Let the experts at TCB choose wine pairings for us!
We loved using The Chopping Block's kitchen to create the perfect experience for the holidays. And you can bet your toque we’ll be back for round two!
Interested in your own private cooking competition? Learn more about private events.