A Belated Birthday Party Idea For The Win

the tale of Fyooding and Celebrating with Zodie and Friends

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It’s Always a Good Time to Party

A preview of what’s ahead: Robert and Tim prepping ingredients mid-round for Team  Food Rangers

A preview of what’s ahead: Robert and Tim prepping ingredients mid-round for Team Food Rangers

Belated birthday parties may get a bad rap, but we here at Fyood think that celebrations with friends and family can take place anytime, anywhere. For her son Zodie’s birthday, Karen wanted to plan something fun, easy, and out of the ordinary, and in Fyood she found the perfect birthday party idea - a night of competitive culinary exploration filled with laughs and zero hassle for herself or any of her son’s friends. 

Each of these soon-to-be Fyoodies entered our kitchen confident (Christina exclaimed, “We’re gonna win,” even before entering the kitchen), but they were also not quite sure just what to expect. One thing united them, however; Zodie and Pete informed us that their group of friends and family “all love to cook - and eat,” the latter being all anyone needs to become a part of our ever-expanding Fyood community!

 

Ready, Set, FYOOD!

When these Fyoodies picked teams (and named them - CompEAT, Food Rangers, and Top-Chopped), they already showed a fierce competitive edge, as many of them were strategizing the moment they saw the pantry and fridge. 

Once everyone settled into their cooking stations, the countdown began. 

“3… 2… 1… FYOOD!”

The Mystery Basket Ingredients for Zodie’s Birthday Fyood (1 Round, Savory)

The Mystery Basket Ingredients for Zodie’s Birthday Fyood (1 Round, Savory)

The Fyoodies opened their Mystery Baskets to find four ingredients which they would ultimately transform into three different, beautiful, delicious dishes. The starting point: Frozen mango pulp, ground turkey, sugar cones, rainbow chard, and only forty-five minutes to pull it all together. 

 

45 minutes (and Counting)

For those first few moments of the competition, the ingredients remained objects of general curiosity, some stopping a few competitors in their tracks. For two members of team Food Rangers, the sugar cones stood out, but not exactly in the same way: The sugary treat was Lea’s favorite ingredient from the basket, and also Tim’s least favorite. A couple of sweet ingredients in their savory baskets was daunting for most of these Fyoodies, many putting them aside while focusing on more solid ideas. 

Prep from Team  Food Rangers  - bacon and meatballs seared in bacon fat (yes, please!)

Prep from Team Food Rangers - bacon and meatballs seared in bacon fat (yes, please!)

Competitors from Top-Chopped took the first few moments of the round as an opportunity to snag an item they had seen in the fridge during the pre-game kitchen tour: Bacon. The Food Rangers unknowingly did the same, showcasing a clear knowledge of their soon-to-be-judges’ tastes. 

 

Jillian from team CompEAT commented toward the beginning of the round, “We have a plan, I would say, for, like… the meat,” showcasing just how challenging thinking on the spot can be. The disparity between the four basket ingredients made this tough, but the Fyoodies were tougher - nothing could stop their creative ideas from forming and propelling them onward in the kitchen. 

About a third of the way into the competition, Deborah noted an aspect of the Food Rangers’ cooking style which was reflected throughout the rest of the groups’ interactions: “We’re trying to just work together and collaborate,” something all three teams surely succeeded in. 

Lea and Karen of  Top-Chopped  testing and discussing their Team’s mashed potatoes

Lea and Karen of Top-Chopped testing and discussing their Team’s mashed potatoes

 

Bringing it All Together

Despite how disparate the Mystery Basket Ingredients may have seemed at the beginning of the round, all three teams were calm and collected come plating time. Competitors from team CompEAT moved elegantly across the kitchen to retrieve a few last-minute wontons from the stovetop, all while Karen added the finishing sauce to Top-Chopped’s plates. Deborah inspected the Food Ranger’s dishes, commenting that she wished the meatballs had “a little crunch” but otherwise being thrilled with what they had created.  

Time ran out, though no one seemed too rushed - drinks were back in-hand as the clock hit zero, and these Fyoodies mosied around the kitchen chatting about what they had just made and participated in until they were too hungry to wait for dinner any longer. 

All smiles at Team  CompEAT’s  station as the Chefs worked collectively to finish plating

All smiles at Team CompEAT’s station as the Chefs worked collectively to finish plating

 
Team  Food Rangers’  Final Dish

Team Food Rangers’ Final Dish

Time to Eat

Deborah from the Food Rangers helped incorporate many familiar techniques into her team’s dish, both in having just worked with ground turkey earlier in the week and by adding ricotta cheese to lighten them up. Despite making larger portion sizes, Deborah’s know-how and her team’s quick work to prep the gigantic meatballs got them cooked to near-perfection by the end of the round. 

Team  Top-Chopped’s  Final Dish

Team Top-Chopped’s Final Dish

Top-Chopped also made meatballs, but the teammates distinguished their dish with both the cooking of them and their additions of creamy homemade mashed potatoes and a sour cream, mango, and citrus sauce to finish the plate. Everyone agreed that this team’s dish looked as delicious as it tasted and that the mashed potatoes were - big surprise here - a major success. 

Of course, the birthday boy and his Team CompEAT had to go big for the occasion; they managed to turn up the heat for their competitors by bringing in spice from both the pantry and their own ambition, the latter by way of successfully making turkey-stuffed fried wontons, coconut and lime rice, wok-fried veggies, and  a mango drizzle to top it all off. 

Team  CompEAT’s  Final Dish

Team CompEAT’s Final Dish

 

Chefs-Turned-Judges

Zodie and Pete from Team  CompEAT  frying wontons during the round

Zodie and Pete from Team CompEAT frying wontons during the round

Not only did team CompEAT’s Asian-influenced dish result in high points for creativity, but it also allowed for the kind of culinary exploration some of the chefs had been yearning for.

During the Tasting portion of the event, Zodie commented to our Master of Ceremonies, Maddie: “You know when you were looking at me staring at the refrigerator? I was dreaming of, ‘How do I make a wonton? I have no idea, let’s try and do it.’” 

 

And the Winner Is…

The creativity and audacity of their dish put team CompEAT over the edge and gave them the win for this Fyood competition. Zodie, Jillian, Pete, and Lisa accepted their trophies graciously, and each and every Fyoodie in attendance was complimenting the other teams’ dishes long after the judging was over.

This birthday Fyood ended with twelve full and happy friends, and we couldn’t ask for more in our kitchen.

Thanks again for sharing it with us, Zodie and friends!