This fall I was invited to attend the Kenmore Blogger Summit in Chicago. I had a friend who had attended in the past and I knew that the summit involved cooking competitions and quite frankly, that scared me. I think of myself as an average cook with only a few tricks up my sleeve and I was worried about being outed as less than expert. After all, Celebrating Family is not a food blog, although I have recipes on the site from time to time. I love sharing recipes that every mom can make with ease because that is what I am good at. But how was that going to compare to the amazing food bloggers who I knew were going to be at the summit? I boarded a Chicago-bound plane in nervous anticipation.
From the first moment of the summit it was obvious that Kenmore had organized a fun-filled, supportive yet competitive event. There were several competitions much like the ones you might see on TV. The Kenmore kitchen was stocked with food, kitchen tools, and talent. Participants had to create original dishes under the pressure of time and competition. While it was high pressure, it was also the most fun I can remember having in a long time. I had the absolute best team of wonderful ladies. We dubbed ourselves Team Hope, playing on our team leader’s first name. Here is my fab team with Kenmore Marketing director Brian Jochum.
The first competition was a relay where each member of the team had 5 minutes to work on their team’s creation before handing it off to the next member of the team. My team had an extra person so the last two people, me and Kiran, got to work together during the last 5 minute segment. We walked up to our team’s station to find we had raw chicken in the pan! That meant we had five minutes to complete the cooking and plate the dish. We looked at each other with a little bit of apprehension and then got right to work. Kiran and I worked a little kitchen magic and got that chicken cooked to the point that the judges actually said it was cooked perfectly! It also helped that we were using the Kenmore Elite Induction Cooktop which heats up faster than my traditional stove does.
There were several other competitions including one using a wonderful bread called brioche. My team won the brioche competition with this truly delicious Spiced Turkey Napoleon. This dish had participants from all over the studio coming over to sample it. Look at this beautiful photo Kiran took of our winning dish.
Team Hope also created a delicious White Ancho Chili Hot Chocolate with Orange Blueberry Brandy using the Kenmore Slow Cooker with Dipper. Our drink did not win the slow cooker cocktail competition but the judges said we could easily charge $20 for the drink as a dessert at a fine restaurant. That sounds like an honorable mention to me!
I gained a lot from the Kenmore Blogger Summit. I made new friends, tried new ideas, learned a lot about Kenmore, and gained a new confidence in my kitchen abilities. I guess you could say I found my inner cook and learned that I do not give myself enough credit. I was a contributing member of my team and I had ideas to share and a valuable contribution to make. I came home feeling amazing and with a lot of stories to tell.
Thank you, Kenmore, for helping me find my inner cook.