Funnel Cake, Cheese Steaks, and Ad Impressions

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 by Adam Bergman

“TIME!” The judges voice rang out like a fire drill to the dizzied contestants. Faces were flush, hearts raced, and competitive juices were soaring. Some were injured, but they had pressed forward through blazing heat and tense moments. Like true gladiators, they persevered, and pressed on to the final moments of battle.

World Cup final you may ask? Lakers vs. Celtics for the NBA title? No, but close. This was the 2011 Iron Chef Challenge hosted by YuMe, and the kitchen scene was like a battle field in Braveheart. The Northwest sales reps gathered their most fearless clients to the Blue Ribbon Cooking School in the East Lake district of Seattle for a night of stove tops and wine, to see who could impress in the confines of the kitchen. After being divided into two teams, and being assigned two separate proteins (steak and shrimp respectively), the two teams jumped right into strategy and planning.

Each team was responsible for laying out a main course, side dish, and a dessert, so you had to take into account time, resources, the skill sets of your team members.

Within only moments it seemed, the teams had broken up into miniature cooking staffs, fighting their way through giant buckets of salt, flour, and any other unique ingredient they could grab before the opposition could make a move. Both teams quickly compartmentalized into prep groups, focusing on different aspects of the meal. As the clock ticked, both teams leveraged the experience of Blue Ribbon’s own masters of culinary arts to guide the teams through the menus they had planned. As each team’s meal began to take shape, you could see leaders emerging on both sides, and the participants true competitive nature was starting to show.

When Blue Ribbon manager (and judge on the evening) Mike Duppenthaler called for time, we all knew we had put everything into it. Team steak concocted “Seattle” Cheese Steaks, a dedication plate to their Philly predecessor. As a side, it was homemade tator tots. Dessert was carnival style funnel cake, infused with pumpkin spice, and topped with raspberry compote and crème fraiche. Team shrimp made hand rolled ravioli, filled with the shellfish and garnished with a fantastic cream sauce. Stuffed mushrooms and a chocolate pudding finished it off, and made for a difficult decision for Judge Duppenthaler. When the funnel cake was deemed the best dessert Blue Ribbon had ever seen, team steak knew that victory was theirs.

All in all, it was an amazing time had by all. As if it were any of our home kitchens, it was good wine, good friends, and a night of memories we won’t soon forget.  But if we do forget, we’ll have this video to remind us:

YuMe’s Iron Chef Challenge in Seattle