The Great Party Challenge

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The Great Party Challenge

By Paula Deen

This week, I brought the excitement of a culinary competition to the April High Point Furniture Market where I hosted my own Great Party Challenge at the High Point Theatre during the spring Furniture Market.  This Market, I launched my new River House Collection with Universal Furniture.

The Competition
Based on the Spring Market theme of “Inspiration”, five teams of local students who are in the culinary school at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, NC designed and prepared edible centerpieces inspired by one of five family parties: a child’s birthday, graduation, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Students were selected for their creativity and ability to create under pressure. They had 50 minutes to work as a team to assemble their centerpiece, which needed to be 24 or more inches high. When the clock ran out, the audience helped me choose a winner. It was a hoot, y’all! 

And the Winner is!
The winning team was called “Red Hot Freedom” and they made their centerpiece out of fresh fruits and veggies, like watermelon, cantaloupe, radish and squash, for the 4th of July.  The team members were Zachary Foster, Amanda Hart, Shaina Jenkins, and Jerry Marsh.

Some of the 16 students in the competition came from as far away as Haiti and some were new cooks while others were looking to hone their skills. Their long-term goals range from owning a restaurant or a bakery to operating catering services and food delivery services. Students practiced for a combined 360 hours on their centerpiece – which is just amazing.

Each member of the winning team will receive a promotional video, with a personal interview taped with myself. Plus, they each get a signed cookbook and a trophy designed just for this competition. Plus, I slipped a little gift card in there since I know how hard it is to start out in this business.

Down Home Lovin’
With my new River House Collection, I share my love of Savannah and the casual comfortable lifestyle there. River House captures the beauty and hospitality of gracious life on the Savannah River. It is available in 3 finishes, River Bank, a deep brown cherry finish; River Boat, white with a gray rub-through and Oyster Shell – a beautiful grey accent.  Right now, I have five furniture collections, Paula Deen Home, Down Home the new River House and the Gals and Guys collections for kids that are a part of Universal’s SmartStuff™ youth furniture.
 
As always, I’m wishin’ y’all love and best dishes!

Photo courtesy of Anthony D. Thomas.

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