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The Everplans 2021 Thanksgiving Test Kitchen Competition Was A Cornucopia Of Delights

Monday, November 15, 2021 • by Gene Newman

Everplans staffers talked a lot of turkey during this Thanksgiving inspired cooking competition without using any actual turkey. (But they could use duck...or Doritos.)

Ten crafty cuisiniers on the Everplans team positioned their laptops dangerously close to the edges of their kitchen counters while attempting to cook Thanksgiving meals without using any traditional Thanksgiving ingredients. This is the second cooking challenge Everplans has undertaken after the first “Chopped-Inspired Competition” resulted in a massive success. Here were the festive ground rules:

All participants could make as many Thanksgiving-inspired dishes as they desired BUT MUST INCLUDE at least 5 of the following ingredients:

  • Anchovies
  • Fig jam
  • Goat cheese
  • Harissa
  • Hot honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Mint
  • Orange rind
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Turmeric

5 points were awarded for each of the following bonus ingredients:

  • Chorizo/Duck/Tofu
  • Doritos
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Ramen noodles
  • Saffron

Once the clock struck 11AM EST, which we can all agree is the perfect time to prepare a massive pre-Holiday feast (especially for our West Coast team members), the chefs had one goal in mind: Delicious dominance!

Each contestant was scored on a scale from 1-5 in a number of categories, with a chance to win bonus points for going above and beyond. The votes have been tallied and we now present the crantastic (mostly cranberry-free) results.

Most Creative Dish

The Winner: Angela (Hot honey chicken crusted w Doritos; Saffron & Turmeric risotto)

First Runner-Up: Bernie

Second Runners-Up: Abby, Yariv

Best Presentation

The Winner: Bernie (Salad on a stick with a turmeric gin sour; Maple lacquered duck breast with a maple old fashioned)

First Runner-Up: Casey & Yoko

Second Runners-Up: Harris

The Best Use Of Color

The Winner: Eloise (Turkey Tenderloin with Maple Fig Glaze; Side: Green Beans with Orange, Goat Cheese, and Pomegranate Seeds)

First Runner-Up: Casey & Yoko

Second Runners-Up: Angela

Biggest Smack Talker Who Also Brought His/Her/Their A-Game

The Winner: Yariv

Best Use Of Ingredients

The Winner: Angela (Ramen cups w goat cheese, orange, Pom seed and cranberry compote)

First Runner-Up: Yariv

Second Runner-Up: Eloise

Most Difficult To Make

The Winner: Harris (Rosemary, goat cheese, chorizo focaccia with a chili honey dipping sauce on side; Seared Hudson valley duck over a pomegranate balsamic maple syrup reduction)

First Runner-Up: Angela

Second Runner-Up: Abby

The Seemingly Healthiest

The Winner: Casey & Yoko (A vegan delight: stuffed portabella mushroom caps with pine nuts and vegan chorizo; Mashed sweet potatoes with maple vegan butter, corn bread with jalapenos and hot honey: vegan pumpkin mousse)

First Runner- Yariv

Second Runner-Up: Abby

Game Changer Award

The Winner: Casey & Yoko Teaming Up For the first time in Everplans cooking challenge history, these two trailblazers shocked everyone by combining forces. Now that the solo seal has been broken we can totally expect more teams in future competitions.

Likelihood Of This Meal Becoming A Thanksgiving Tradition

The Winner: Adam (Chicken fried Turkey with turmeric breading and a cranberry maple compote. Chorizo stuffing waffles; Roasted green beans with orange zest infused goat cheese and orange pomegranate vinaigrette)

Adam's dish also received an additional victory: Would Order At A Restaurant

First Runner-Up: Eloise

Second Runner-Up: Case& Yoko

Most Interesting Surprise Or Mishap While Cooking

The Winner: Abby “That’s what happens when you try to make your own sweetened condensed milk (because you accidentally were sold evaporated milk).”

First Runner-Up: Bernie (Not so much a mishap for Bernie, but he provided a perfect aftermath photo of his kitchen)

Second Runner-Up: Eloise (No big mishaps either except for her time zone being 3 hours earlier than the rest of the competitors)

Most Likely to Burn Down the Neighborhood

The Winner: Abby Despite the stove fiasco, Abby pulled it together and became one of the highest scoring overall competitors. No use crying over burnt milk, indeed.

Most Calm Under Pressure

The Winner: Yariv This is doubly impressive considering his massive menu: Old fashioned hot toddy; corn tortillas stuffed with thyme infused goat cheese and chickpeas, chorizo, and topped with firm tofu coated with fried Doritos; butternut squash and corn soup (the mirepoix was started with anchovies); chocolate goat cheese truffles served with mint and fig jam.

First Runner-Up: Adam

Second Runner-Up: Abby

Really Phoned It In

The Winner: Warren Someone wrote this in the voting comments and it was too funny not to include. Warren deserves major creative points for crafting a Thanksgiving brunch, which also emptied out his fridge so he had room to store the turkey for real Thanksgiving.

Warren made a goat cheese and fig jam puff pastry roll, homemade whitefish salad with turmeric, anchovy and harissa, and a apple (odds are the plain apple on a plate made the biggest impression among judges and voters)

Atanda Would Eat It

When it comes to food, Atanda prefers it spicy or sweet (or both).

The Winner: Angela (Pumpkin spice doughnuts with maple glaze)

First Runner-Up: Adam

Second Runners-Up: Abby

Gene Would Eat It

Gene is the opposite of Atanda; the plainer the better.

The Winner: Abby This feast consisted of Baked goat cheese with fig jam, chopped pecans and thyme with a side of spicy Doritos to dip; Harissa and brown sugar spiced Turkey thighs with turmeric sweet potatoes; a salad (which is probably what won Gene over the most); Lime curd key lime pie with a graham cracker crust)

First Runners-Up: Eloise, Adam

Second Runners-Up: Angela, Harris

Most Likely To Appear In A Professional Cookbook

The Winner: Eloise's Dessert (Chocolate Peanut Butter & Fig Jam Ramen Bars)

Best Instagram Photos

The Winner: Casey & Yoko The leaves with the names of the dishes written on them totally sealed the deal.

First Runners-Up: Bernie

Second Runner-Up: Eloise

And With The Most Overall Points, The Everplans Thanksgiving Test Kitchen Competition Best In Show Goes To…

Angela! Ramen cups! Hot honey chicken crusted with Doritos! Saffron risotto! Donuts! Against a highly competitive field, Angela gobbled up the victory.

First Runner-Up: Abby

Second Runner Up: Eloise

Honorable Mentions: Adam, Yariv. Plus everyone else too!

The entire team deserves a parade. This event and all the participants proved to be more successful than any team playing the Detroit Lions in the early game each Thanksgiving. (Note to the NFL: We realize the Lions have been hosting this special game since 1934, but some traditions need to be broken...please, for the love of pumpkin pie, pick another team!) Here are some bonus photos to please your eyes:

Special thanks to Atanda, Kay, Muna and Zeina for hosting the event (they were all incredible), Steven and Tammy for providing moral support for all the chefs, and Abby, Angela, Eloise, and Casey for making the entire thing happen.

Farewell, until we eat again...