On July 9th, Seductive Specialty Foods had the pleasure of welcoming 50 State Legislators from across the United States to Pike Place Market. Back in the early Spring we received a request to design a “Top Chef” style competition for the Senators and Delegates from four different caucuses who would be visiting Seattle, WA for a conference. The challenge was to design an engaging experiential program that everyone could participate in, while shining the spotlight on the many diverse cultural culinary offerings of Pike Place Market.
It’s times like these, that I L.O.V.E. my career and business! Having the opportunity to not only give these guests a truly unique experience but to also introduce them to the Market and all of its history and offerings is what it’s all about!
For their evening, I created two challenges, following a “Top Chef” styled format. The group’s moderator had each guest count out into four groups, ensuring the guests would have the opportunity to interact with colleagues they don’t typically see on a regular basis. Once the groups were determined, I introduced my four chefs Joe, Allyss, Chris and Karen, who were each assigned to a group and who would offer guidance and expertise as needed.
The first challenge was a 10-minute challenge . Each group was given three organic eggs, and five ingredients: garlic spears (the tops of elephant garlic), an orange quarter, one half of a croissant from Le Panier, grated Beechers Flagship Cheddar Cheese, and a spoonful of bacon fat. The timer was started and the Atrium Kitchen quickly filled with lively conversation as each team enthusiastically dove into the challenge with creativity. At the end of ten minutes, the panel of judges (consisting of me and two of my staff) were presented with four very delicious and gorgeous plates ranging from an omelet, to a soft boiled egg, to a scramble. These teams clearly were bring their A-game! The winner of the Challenge was Joe’s team, and their prize for winning was having first choice of ingredients to be used for the second challenge.
For the second challenge of the night, each team could select between 4-6 ingredients from the bounty of Market’s delicacies I’d selected and then they would have 30 minutes to create two appetizers. Before beginning the challenge, I introduced the basket of ingredients, sharing a bit about each product and company:
Mt. Townsend Creamery Off-Kilter Cheese (the Creamery’s cheese bathed in Pike Place Brewery’s Kilt-Lifter beer), Salumi’s artisan salami made exclusively for DeLaurenti Specialty, Rainier Cheeries from Lyall Farms, Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake from The Confectional, Essential Bakery Sea Salt flatbread crackers, pink lady apples, Golden Raspberry Jam from Johnson Berry Farm, Bacon Spread from Skillet, Moon Valley’s Blackberry Honey, dried Washington apples, dried pineapple and dried okra from Simply the Best, Sotto Voce Pomodoro Olive Oil and Sotto Voce’s Honey Balsamic Vinegar with Strawberries, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, and one perfectly ripe pear, which ended up being the shining star for the winning team.
The variety of plates and appetizers created was PHENOMENAL! Each team really stretched their creativity, with one team making a “flat bread pizza” using one whole sheet of flatbread, bacon jam for the sauce, crispy salami and melted Off-Kilter cheese on top! This was the second place dish. The first place dish belonged, once again, to Joe’s team who had acquired the one and only pear. The dishes they made featuring the sweet beauty of the ripe fruit made it a hands-down, no questions-asked winner in my book! They successfully combined the natural sweetness of the fruit with the savory, saltiness of the salami and earthiness of the Off-Kilter Cheese. Every team delivered exceptional bites! (Okay, there was one bite that was tough to get down!)
The evening concluded with our selection of appetizers including Dungeness Crab on Endive with Avocado Gremolata and Five-Spiced Walnuts, Ahi Tuna Poke on Crisp Wontons, mini BLTs featuring Seductive’s Heirloom Tomato Jam, and a dinner of Ginger-Lemongrass Flank Steak, Vegetarian Polenta with Beechers Flagship Cheddar, Baby Heirloom Tomato & Tri-Colored Potato Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Fresh Washington Berry Trifles featuring blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries from Hayton Farms, and Espresso Brownies.
We all had a blast! If you’d like to book this type of experience for your team, please send Chef Traci an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Chef Traci