OMD Fork Off
Thursday 18th April. That was the day we’d all been waiting for – the very first OMD UK Fork Off! The lovely Food Network team and some very busy members of the Minerva House Club Committee helped host the first in a series of events designed to raise as much money as possible for Kids Company’s Colour A Child’s Life project.
Fork Off aims to encourage as many people in the agency to compete alongside one another and test their culinary prowess, producing dishes that will feed hungry colleagues and culminate in one lucky winner being crowned OMD UK Master Cook 2013. The kudos of this title is the stuff of dreams for our competitive lot – particularly as the judging panel comprises professional celebrity chefs who know more than a thing or two about good food!
Jun Tanaka, owner of Pearl restaurant in London, was the first celebrity judge to sample everyone’s cuisine and the theme for the day was ‘Mediterranean Feast’. A real buzz started to fill our reception area as entrants began to heat their dishes and make the final touches to the presentation. There were six dishes introduced that day:
Tiana Carniel – ‘Piatta Della Nonna’ (Grandma’s dish)
Gareth Orr – Mediterranean Lamb Meatballs
Gokce Altintig- Beef-stuffed peppers, aubergines and tomatoes
Luke McGann – Barbary Coast Chicken salad
Emma Hawkins – a Mediterranean twist on a British classic ‘Spanish Casa Pie’
Maia Weil-Obadia – Moroccan Tagine
Luke McGann made a dramatic last minute entrance, dazzling the crowd with a foliage-garnished platter that demanded everybody’s attention. Then, after pausing for a round of photographs with the entrants, judging panel and Food Network team, the taste test began.
Genuine silence descended on the room and there was what can only be described as a sense of trepidation in the air. Most eyes were fixed on Jun Tanaka as he sampled each dish. Neil Duncan, board member judge for round one, continued to go back for second and third helpings in his bid to ‘clarify’ which he preferred. However there could be no sitting on the fence and after a moment’s conferral, the judging panel decided on the winner. Jun made his announcement to the room that Gokce Altintig would be going through to the final in three weeks’ time thanks to her flavour-rich, supremely delicious stuffed vegetables.
The day was a fantastic success. It was great to see the personality behind everyone’s collective dish and give colleagues the chance to enjoy real, home-cooked food at lunchtime. In the space of an hour, virtually all the food had gone and several more volunteers had signed up to compete in the following weeks’ Fork Off. There was a great atmosphere and real sense of warmth with people tasting delicious food and donating to such a worthy cause. It marked a really positive start to the event, with high hopes for how far it could take us in reaching our target for Kids Compnay.
This week’s theme is Taste Of The Far East. You really don’t want to miss this, so OMDers, get involved!