Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mac N' Cheez Challenge

Yesterday brought a fun break in a week full of work stress and a hectic schedule for me. I was asked to participate as a "celebrity" judge for the Second Annual Harley-Davidson Mac N' Cheez Challenge. Held at the sales dealership on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland, it was an afternoon of live music, bike envy, great outfits, and...10 different kinds of mac n' cheese to sample. For just $5, you received tasting tickets, one hot dog, and a really cool T-shirt.
We had a great view of everything from the judge's stand. I was honored to serve as a judge with representatives from WTAM, TastyCleveland blog, and Nicole with her adorable six-week old son from Gypsy Bean.
We were tasked with sampling and scoring five entries in the "Cheese" category...
and five entries in the "Non-traditional" category.
The standout sample in the Cheese category was the Slap Yo' Mamma Fatboy Baked Wheels of Cheese (not pictured). With 12 varieties of cheese, a crust made with crumbled croissants and French's fried onions, and secret ingredients like steak sauce and hot sauce for added flavor--this was a winner. If the wagon wheel pasta hadn't been overcooked, it would have been scored a 5 out of 5 in every category.

Our favorite in the Non-traditional was a surprise dessert mac n' cheese served to us last (pictured above).
Called "Macadella & Cheese", it was his take on an upside-down cheesecake. It was baked, and then chilled and served cool. I loved it, and finished every bite in my sample and went back for seconds once judging was over. So creative!

While some stood out, we certainly didn't have a bad mac n' cheese. All contestants had clearly put a lot of time and effort into their dishes. The creativity was fun to see, and I loved some of the great names like "Gettin' Zingy With  It" (People's Choice award) and "Spin Doctors Magic Mac". Overall, everyone should be really proud of themselves. For amateur cooks, the mac n' cheese was impressive overall.

Harley-Davidson was also raffling off a motorcycle valued at $20,000 for just $5 raffle tickets, with proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots. Sadly, "R" did not win the bike.

Thank you to Harley-Davidson for inviting me to act as a judge, and to the contestants for putting forth such effort and love into their food. I'd gladly judge again next year! What a fun event.


Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

Oh my gosh - what a great thing to participate in. LOVE mac 'n cheese! I didn't hear about this at all - wish I would have.

bonnjill said...

Next time please announce this ahead of time. My best friend is a total mac and cheese FREAK. This would be right up her alley.

Bite Buff said...

Yes, hopefully I'll have more notice if they ask me again. Found out Thursday, so I only tweeted and posted on Facebook once. It was a fun event, and I'd love to see some familiar faces in the crowd. :)

Amanda @ Clue Into CLE said...

I just ate lunch but this made me hungry all over again - fun!

Unknown said...

Now I want mac n cheese! Sounds like a fun time!