Thursday, February 3, 2011

Campbells Cook Off!!!‏

Hi Gang!
I just have sooo much to tell you! What an exciting week!  A week of cooking, eating,competing, meeting the fine folks of Campbell's and of course time spent with my family and some friends in the North East region of the USA.  It was FAB-U-LOUS!!  This was the Ultimate Football Challenge Cook Off.  Featuring Swanson Brand Premium Chunk Chicken.
I flew from Florida to Philly on a day where most major airports were socked in due to snow storms, fog and rain. I was fortunate enough to not experience and delays at all!  As a matter of fact we arrived right on time.  I walked through Philadelphia airport to the baggage claim area .  As I rounded the corner of the elevator  there was my name posted on a sign, held by my "Driver".  YES.. Campbell's had sent a car and driver as a "Meet & Greet", and whisk me off to the amazing Lowe's Center City Philadelphia Hotel.  My drivers name was Kevin.  Such a nice guy.  We had this great conversation about food.  Well actually about cookies.  His favorite cookie is a Molasses/Ginger Cookie.  I told him I just happen to have the very best Molasses Ginger cookie recipe ever, and promised to send him a batch. 

 Arrived Loew's Hotel. Quite swanky! I felt like Cinderella!! Car, Driver, Doorman, Concierge, great Front Desk persons PLUS a welcome goodie bag for me from our hosts - Campbells!  The room was beautiful. I had just enough time to freshen up, have a glass of wine, and slip into fancy clothes..  We were heading to an Ultra Sheek Restaurant called: Tinto's Spanish Restaurant & Bar.  Tinto is one of Jorge Garces' (the Iron Chef!!) restaurants in the Philadelphia area. it was very cool, it happened to be restaurant week, so we got to sample many of the dishes there!  The three Finalist wined and dined with Campbell' s Business Directors, Brand  Managers, Project Managers and our Communications Promotional person Corrinne Upton. A really amazing evening.  Wonderful company, interesting food and another new experience under my belt. We sampled many recipes.  My favorite was  La Peral Cheese,  This was a semi-firm, bleu, pasteurized, cow & sheep's milk cheese.  I loved the Duck Montadito & Serrano ham combination with a black cherry spread. Plus the Mussels in a white wine, saffron, garlic, and tomato broth were to die for!  Then there were tender luscious Sea Scallops. Yumm!!!
7:45 am, bright and early our Driver was waiting for us outside the hotel and we were heading for the Campbell's headquarters in Camden NJ.  The new Campbell's facility was just beautiful.  I was really looking forward to the "behind the scenes" tour we would receive.  Some coffee and a light breakfast, a few introductions and the competition began.  The Campbell's Test Kitchens are set up just like any home kitchen would be.  Ten kitchens in all, back to back.  This was not your high end "Industrial Viking Appliance Kitchen that you view on Cooking Shows.  That's a bit unrealistic for the average home cook. Campbell's  wants each test recipe to take place in a home type kitchen - just like I have or you have.   This assures Campbell's it will be a true "my kitchen to your kitchen type experience" using  their products.   I call that a well thought out plan!
And here we are, the THREE FINALIST:

Let the competition begin!!

 There was a photographer there and a videographer both from Campbells.  ABC & NBC Networks were there as well.  The word was we were to "make the Fox Channel News" in Philly that evening.

*{I'm sorry to say this is a "partial plate" of what was presented to the Judges,
the full presentation plate disappeared rather quickly!} 

First up presentation "ME" & my dish, in front of the Judges Panel.  

And the winner is.....Laura with her Quick Chicken Enchilada Nachos!!
Win or lose, you just can't beat a great experience and good time.  Interesting to meet other Food Bloggers like myself, and here what they do and how they do it.  Another feather in my "Chef Hat" & a great trip to boot!  OH - I almost forgot & certainly a "HIGHLIGHT" for my trip to Philly, and a not to be missed item!
How bout' an authentic Philly Cheese Steak from GINO'S of South Philly.  Yep!! The great folks from Campbell's came through with just that.  The Cook Off was completed and into the kitchen walks Eric Christiansen, the Business Director of Sauce & Simple Meal Makers.  He was carrying a paper bag still warm and toasty from Gino's just for the three of us.  My Utah competition Barbara & Laura had never tasted the real deal before.  HOW thoughtful was that!!! Let me tell you - that earned him a big hug and kiss from yours truly!.
Here's the three of us digging into that yummy famous Philly Sandwiches..  Thanks Eric for the special trip to Philly!



  1. How amazing, sounds like fun, all of it!

  2. Wow, you did have a whirlwind and wonderful sounding time Sticky Buns! You now have some wonderful memories to keep forever and ever! Not too many people have got the do what you have--you should feel mighty proud! I am proud of you!!!

    And my loot you picked out for me--better than any Christmas! I LOVED everything and will LOVE to use and eat the treats! Great shopper you are! Thank you so much!!! I hope I can hug you in person, maybe in Savannah this year, God willing!

  3. What a GREAT trip! And all paid for to boot! How fun is that!! What a truly great cook you are Cathy and being in the top three of this national contest speaks volumes. You may have not officially 'won' this one but to me you are a winner in this and everything you do Cathy.

    Also Congrats to Donna (Grandmere). I am SO jealous. Wow what a prize!!! And what a great shopper/picker outer you are Cathy.

    A great big Congratulations to both of you!!