Chef's Challenge: Cookie Battle Pre-Event

As part of a slew of pre-event events, Chef Chuck Hughes hosted a Cookie Battle to raise more money for Mount Sinai’s Chef's Challenge: TheUltimate Battle for a Cure. The final culminating event this coming Saturday, December 1st is an all-star fundraiser cooking battle between Chef Lynn Crawford, Michael Smith, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan and David Rocco. Hosted by Guy Fieri and Bob Blumer, this event won't disappoint! 

People who raise over $ 2, 500 get admission and the top 50 fundraisers get to cook alongside the chefs as part of their team!! One of my friends and noted food blogger, Yvonne Tsui is heading to kitchen stadium! ;D Take a stab at the winning team/chef this year here. Potential prize if you guess right!

I wasn’t originally going to go but thanks to gastropost for holding a contest and Brian being a very generous and kind friend, I got the chance to attend! After finding out that the cookie challenge was the same day as my birthday, he arranged for me to have his ticket. Thanks Brian!!! :D:D:D
A friend made this a couple days before the event...mmm pumpkin pie!! :D

I had already celebrate my birthday gluttinously with friends. This Chef’s Challenge Cookie Battle Pre-Event was like a beautiful cherry on top of it all. But first, what to bake?! I was definitely feeling the pressure. I had one shot at a batch of cookies and I did not want to disappoint.

Advised to take a more complex approach, I baked a sort of milk bar compost cookie-inspired cookie. Cornflake crunch, chocolate chips, potato chips, ground coffee, and oats all went into the batter. Nutella was supposed to be a surprise in the middle. I’d liked to call them “Pretty Close” Cookies because with a few tweaks, they’ll be much more presentable. ;D

Here are Yvonne’s (@th3hungrycat) cookies. She baked bacon, chocolate chip & peanut butter cookies; The Drunk Spotted Pig. That’s an insane combination of flavours! There’s even bourbon in there too.

Another good foodie friend of mine, Viviana (@foodies_inc) was also there. Now that was a really pleasant surprise because we hadn’t seen in other in months! Her Dulce de Leche-Cashew cookies were an homage to both her background and Chuck’s recent trip to Mexico. Good lawd were they yummy!

Pusateri’s catered the event (which was held at the SubZero Wolf showroom). On top, lamb “lollipops” that were perfectly done. And on the bottom, “beef-tini”. Pretty cute and definitely a smart baby version of what you’d normally find as a main at restaurants.

Everyone mingled, chatted, and got Chuck to autograph copies of his cookbook, Garde Manger while wine and hors d’oeuvres made their way throughout the room. There were close to 50 submissions! Some of them looked so divine I wanted to sneak a bite. It was so tempting!!!

Look at that! Everyone definitely put their best foot (or rather, cookies) forward. <-- wow, that was a horrible joke. I take it back!! No containers were provided but as you can see, some people pulled out all the stops

Viviana and Chuck taking a photo together. The red light on Viviana’s face is actually from her camera. Oops.

After an introduction and welcome from Mount Sinai Hospital's Auxiliary President Karen Goldlist, the judging was underway. Ten cookies were chosen for Chuck to taste and decide the winner from. I didn’t even make it to top 10! (that’s okay, they’re called “Pretty Close” Cookies for a reason!)

Chef Hughes’ “what’s-in-this-I-can’t-tell-but-it’s-so-good” look. Actually, he was wondering if the caramel drizzled on top of the cookies were homemade or store-bought.

Think in a Hulk-like voice: “ME WANT MORE!!!”

Time to decide a winner. First, he chose top 4. Yep, he’s leaning on the prize. The Kitchen Aid architect series hand blender! Also, the sole moment where he was serious the entire night. This guy was cracking jokes the entire evening, it was great!

Here were his top 4 picks! I apologize I don’t have a photo of the lady on the right most’s cookie. She baked chocolate cherry bombs(?).

Now not all attendees were women! There was a guy who cracked top 10. Here were his textbook, picture-perfect (and also perfectly spiced) molasses spice cookies! I met him and his wife, Nupur earlier and they’re fantastic people. Very genuine and down-to-earth.

Amongst the top 4 was the White Chocolate & Clementine Shortbread Sandwiches. I didn't get a chance to write down her name but she did a fantastic job!! They look pretty and tasted even better. Shortbreads are very buttery and the candied clementine help cut the richness a bit.

Lauren Schreiber’s Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies. She came in second. Oh she knew how to play to her audience! Chef Hughes is a huge fan of lemon meringue pie so Lauren, having executed a great cookie version of it earned high praise.

Drum roll ----- tada! Amy Taylor’s Coffee Lover’s Chocolate Machiatto Shortbreads were crowned best cookie!! When people were milling around the room, there was a lot of chatter about how beautiful the presentation for these were. She really thought of it all!

Here’s Amy’s reaction to hearing that she baked the winning cookie! Lots of flashes and photos were snapped in the seconds that ensued. Congrats!!

And as soon as that was over, everyone turned to the long table to start sampling (and at times, devouring) the cookies. I wanted feedback on my cookie so I got Chuck to try one. People were trying to get his attention from every direction so I couldn’t get much feedback. We did chat about macarons earlier so that was insightful!

From the smiles all around, this was a very successful event!! It was an awesome birthday, I made a few new friends, caught up with some old ones, and tried some curse-worthingly good cookies. Seems like Chuck got a big chunk of donations added to his fundraising page too so everyone wins. All funds go towards breast and ovarian cancer research. 

It's not too late to donate / help someone fundraise.
Go to http://www.chefschallengeforacure.com/ for more details!
And for those headed to kitchen stadium this Saturday, good luck, have fun and enjoy the great food!!


  1. OMG, Chuck's expressions are hilarious! Thanks for the cookie recap!

    1. I know eh?! Part of why I love his show so much. He's very approachable! No problem, wish you were there though. ;D

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