Last year was full of Dole fun. First up, the Dole Blogger Summit, followed by a series of cooking videos starring Ally from Ally’s Kitchen. Finally, the Dole Cook-Off where three home cooks battled to the final buzzer for a chance at winning $25,000. I truly believe in the “better late than never” philosophy. I found myself looking at a few of these photos over the weekend and figured it would be a great time to share them.
During the Dole Cook-Off, each contestant was paired with a sous chef/blogger who would help them fire up the grill and also stay calm during the competition. My partner was Naylet L. from Miami, FL whose name has come up before as a winner in these types of cooking competitions. We had a meet & greet at Santa Monica Place, so there would be plenty of time to chat and acquaint ourselves before the big day. It also gave us time to size up the competition! Naylet would be up against Roxanne C. of Albany, NY and Barbara E. of Rhinelander, WI.
The afternoon of the contest, and under Naylet’s instruction, we grilled chicken thighs and mango slices, whipped up a spicy peanut sauce and finally plated her entry with chopped dates and garnishes. As it turned out, her Breezy Indian Spiced Chicken with Mango-Peanut Sauce, Dates and Grilled Mango was the dish that won. Not only did Naylet go home with the winning title, but she also had a big, fat check to show for it. My fellow sous chef friends, Carrian from Oh Sweet Basil, and Ericka from Nibbles and Feasts, and I walked away from the weekend knowing we had been part of a memorable moment for our partners.
Remember those videos I mentioned? Well, Ally was the big winner of last year’s Dole Cook-Off, and she morphed into the face of Dole Packaged Foods for a full year. That lucky gal created several recipes utilizing Dole products in unique ways, and I was part of the team that visually brought those recipes to life. We produced a series of videos that are on Youtube, so check them out! I have quite the sweet tooth, so my favorites were Ally’s desserts. Specifically, this Apple & Cream Parfait Cake, which uses these little Dole snack cups in a unique way. Check out the video below, then visit Dole’s website for the complete recipe. Don’t forget to watch the rest of Ally’s videos on the Dole Youtube page!