Foodbuzz 24×24: Iron Chef Throwdown!

A few months ago I went to a girl’s night and met Amy who told me about a cooking competition that she did with her friends.  They all picked a Food Network chef and cooked an appetizer, entrée, and dessert from that chef and could not stray from the recipe.  All their friends would vote and then someone was crowned the winner.  I thought this sounded so fun and thought it would be great for a Foodbuzz 24×24

When the call for submissions from Foodbuzz came out, I impulsively submitted the idea and got picked!  I had a week and a half to find 2 friends to cook and to get a dinner party.  Guess what?  I pulled it off and (with the help of my sister) even had a trophy to give out!


First I secured my fellow competitors.  My sister gladly accepted the challenge as did our friend Shannon.  We threw around some chefs and settled on three; Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, and Ming Tsai.

Lu picked names out of a hat cup and we were assigned our chefs!

IMG_8440  IMG_8438  IMG_8439

Shannon-Thomas Keller
Lissa-Alice Waters
Chelsea-Ming Tsai

We each had to make an appetizer, entrée, and dessert following the recipes with no deviation.  We were unable to keep who made what a secret but we did keep which chef we had a secret from our guests.  Part of the fun was them trying to guess who we had!

We all got to researching-checking out cookbooks from the library, searching online, looking at You Tube.  We kept what we were making a secret from one another but we talked all week about how hard this was and how much we were cooking.  It was seriously SO fun.  In the process of preparing my meal I used my Vitamix, Cuisenart, hand mixer, stand mixer, double boiler, every pot and pan I own (except one and even my wok!) , every type of knife I own, and a mortar and pestle.

I started shopping on Wednesday and cooking on Thursday.  I know my competitors were just as committed.  I think each of us had an anxiety dream about this competition!

Finally the day was here! The table was set:


The ballots were ready!


The Iron Chef’s were putting their final touches on their masterpieces!



Shannon: Parmesean Cups with Chevre Mousse


Lissa: Citrus Salad with Olives


Chelsea: Potato Pancakes with Apple Scallion Cream


We all sat down and there were many “oohs” and “ahhs”.

Our judges left some fun comments.

For Shannon: “Good explosion of flavor!”

Lissa: “Palate Cleanser-REFRESHING! I <3 Spring!”

Chelsea: “Loved the crunch with the creamy chutney”  One comment did tell me to “Lighten it up!” Ha!


Shannon: Pork Cassoulet


Lissa: Beef Braised in Red Mole


Chelsea: Black Pepper Garlic Shrimp with White Rice


I was blown out of the water this round.  Seriously.  The Cassoulet and the Mole were AMAZING.  My sister cooked with beef cheeks for goodness sake!  Shannon’s had every type of pork that you can imagine-who can compete with bacon!?!?!  Both were simply delicious.

Comments from the judges:

Shannon: “Mmmmmm….PORK!!!! Smile

Lissa: “Loved the Mole (best I ever had) and I’m not a mole girl.”

Chelsea: “Light-yet deep flavored sauce…the lemon-the pepper.”

It was a tough one folks!  All of the food was delicious-too delicious.  I stuffed myself.

During all of this craziness Lu was hanging out and being a saint! She had been talking all day about “People coming over!” and was very excited.  While we were eating our entrée she drew everyone a picture and brought it to them, one by one.  It was so sweet and so outside of my little shy girl’s comfort zone.


After the entrée, she bid adieu and Daddy took her to bed (don’t worry she got some dessert this morning).

After the entrée we were very full and getting quite inebriated! There was much discussion!


And lots of wine!


That’s only half of it!  The ChocoVine was a HUGE hit.  Wow that stuff is delish.  Shaun liked it a little too much and now hates it Winking smile.

When we were finally ready to stuff more food into our faces, it was time for dessert!

Shannon: Coconut Cake

Amazingly, this was the first thing ALL NIGHT (other than a side of bread) that had gluten!

Lissa: Chocolate Pave (no gluten or dairy!) and Chelsea: Chocolate Mousse Sundae with homemade ganache and whipped cream


Comments from the judges:

Shannon: “Incredible balance with frosting and cake! Cake was moist with the right flavor and texture.”

Lissa: “Deep. Dark. Rich. Orgasmic!”

Chelsea: “OMG”

We were having so much fun we almost set the house on fire!


So who won?


I was shocked when it was me!  I thought for sure that the shrimp had done me in and the other food was SO GOOD. The appetizer and dessert were apparently a hit.  Can we just forget my shrimp?

Really? I won before ever getting that trophy.  I had so much fun cooking for my friends and having this experience with my sister and Shannon.  It was so much work.  SO MUCH work! I want to thank them for doing it.  It was no easy task and they took it very seriously.  Throughout the dinner you could tell how much thought and effort had gone into every dish. I’ve dined at 3 star Michelin restaurants and that didn’t even compare.  This was so much better because people I loved had made it.

Too bad we couldn’t get a good picture of us:



Some of the guesses?  No one could figure mine out.  They all thought I had Paula Dean! (I did use a pound of butter and 50 ounces of heavy cream!) Very few people could believe that I had an Eastern influenced chef-ha! After some hints, Thomas Keller and Alice Waters did come out. 

Pardon me while I go do dishes.


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