Dining By Debbie

I Entered the Harmons Sliced Cooking Competition

Harmons dessert competitorsWhile watching the news one morning Chef Aaron from Harmons told about a contest they were hosting. It was going to be similar to the Food Network Chopped. Contestants would get a black box with some mystery ingredients and then had to make something from it. This really sparked an interest in me. I went on Harmons web site to find out about it. Put it on hold and then a few days later I noticed Harmons was going to be on Fresh Living to talk about it again. Chef Aaron came on the show. Debbie Worthen had gone to the store to pick some mystery ingredients for him. I was pretty impressed with what he came up with. The one ingredient he got for dessert that I thought could throw me was cottage cheese. Before he did this I thought of what I would make with it. I came pretty close to what he did.  After getting a text of encouragement from Debbie telling me her and Brittany thought I could win this one  I decided to go for it. Click this link to see what I got myself into Harmons Fresh Living

On the Harmons Sliced Cooking Competition they were pretty specific about the days and times you would need to commit to if picked and winning. I agreed to all. Then we had to submit a recipe and tell why we thought we should be picked. I put a recipe for Rhubarb Pie. I went on to tell them that I could make something out of about anything. We grew up without a lot and had to always make due with what we could find in the kitchen. Always cooking from scratch. There was no such thing as a box mix in our home. I told them how one of my favorite things growing up was a dessert called Lumpy Dick. Yes, Lumpy Dick! My Aunt Karen has recreated this wonderful dessert since those that used to make it for us have since passed away taking the secret recipe with them. It consists of flour, eggs and scalded milk. You bake that into a custard type dish removing from the oven cover with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Yummy! Makes my mouth water just to think about it.

I tried to get several of my family and friends to sign up too. After all if I was to make a fool of myself it is better to do it in the company of those who know and love you. Right? Lots of support for me but no one interested. Maybe next time.

I kept telling myself that I would be alright if I didn’t get picked. But every day I would go on the internet to see if I had got an email from them. I couldn’t stand it. It was making me crazy. Part of me wishing I could do it the other part thinking I had lost what was left of my mind. Finally April 21st got here. I wasn’t home to check emails and really thought I hadn’t been picked so just kept myself busy so I wouldn’t think about it. About 4:30 I got a call from Neal Chamberlain. He had sent me an email that I was to respond to by 5 telling me I was picked. I nearly fell  over. I was so excited. He asked if I could be to the Harmons City Creek location downtown for a 10 – 15 minute taped interview the next day. Are you kidding me of course.

Dennis was sweet enough to go with me for support. We got there a little early and walked around the store. I didn’t know he had never been to a Harmons with me. But then I don’t take him to many grocery stores so that shouldn’t surprise me. He hates cooking and really doesn’t see the need for many of the things I find to be necessities. I just go by the philosophy of it is better to get forgiveness than permission. Many would ask how’s that working for you? Well so far pretty good.

The interview was easy and painless. They had great camera men who made at ease right away. Just a few questions about what category I was in. I pointed out that I wasn’t going to make any healthy dessert. When they did all the cuts for the internet there was only about 15 seconds of the interview.  I went up to the kitchen after the interview. Chef Aaron told us we were picked out of 105 applications. Not just drawn out of a hat but carefully picked because of our entry by a committee. He told us even if we didn’t win the night of our competition we should feel good that we got picked out of the many applications. That did make me feel good. Next step was orientation on April 29 for a couple of hours. We got a tour of the kitchen and what we needed to expect the night of our competition. I was surprised at the people competing. They were really serious cooks. I was a little concerned that I could be out of my league. This let me know I needed to prepare. I decided I was going to attend the nights the appetizer and entree competed.

April 30th was the night for appetizers. I really thought I would go for just a few minutes and leave. Really how interesting could it be if you’re behind a glass wall? I knew we couldn’t hear what was going on. So for me I was going for 30 minutes max. I got there and Sean who was to compete in the Entree was there with his girlfriend, Sandee along with others there supporting someone doing appetizers. It was really fun. Chef Aaron, Tyler and Neal would all come out to tell us what was going on. The commentary was fun and being with this group of people made it lots of fun. So it is safe to tell you that I stayed until after the winner was announced.

May 1st was the night for Entree competition. It was killing me that I couldn’t get there until 8:30. I soon found out Black Box ingredients were lamb, green apples, yellow turnip and wasabi peas. Let’s be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of lamb. I watched with anticipation hoping with Sandee that Sean would win. When it was announced he won I was so excited for them. He brought his plate over to be tasted. I carefully picked up a piece and was so surprised at how good it was. Wow was this really lamb? He had used a lot of ginger in what he prepared. I love ginger but it was all good. Who knew I would like lamb?

So you have to know that when I wasn’t watching the competition I was home practicing to make something with anything I thought could be a mystery ingredient. I was using caramelized ginger, hot peppers, mascarpone cheese, goat cheese and so many other things that I would be embarrassed to reveal all the disasters. I didn’t take time for pictures of all the experiments but here are a couple. Harmons practice 01 Harmons practice 02

Now I have to decide? Do I tell you all about the night I competed or do I get to bed and do another post tomorrow and reveal it then? Hmmmmmm Okay I’m pretty tired so sleep is going to win out on this one. To be continued tomorrow. Blog post will be titled How Harmons Sliced Cooking Competition Turned Into My Own Episode of I Love Lucy!


1 comment on I Entered the Harmons Sliced Cooking Competition

  1. Sean
    May 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm (3 years ago)

    Nice blog. I can’t wait to read the rest!


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