Michael Symon may have defeated Mario Batali on Iron Chef, but he was no match for Wii. On August 13, it was “Cook or Be Cooked!” at a Hipcooks West cooking demo, and Symon got smoked.
Michael Morishita developed Cook of Be Cooked! for Bandai Namco Games and played the game to perfection, cooking a chicken and broccoli stir-fry from the Food Network’s “How To Boil Water” cookbook. Well, nearly to perfection; he messed up on purpose to prove there were consequences to poor cooking, even in a video game. Symon pointed out, “I can fail miserably in the game and not suffer the consequences of having to buy a new batch of chicken.”
Across the room, Michael Symon prepared the same dish, but he didn’t have the benefit of fast-forward, so Morishita plated first. Symon’s chicken stir-fry sat lonely for about 15 minutes before we had to request a taste. Considering the recipe involved white meat, I didn’t have high hopes, but after taking a taste, I could see making this dish at home. If the game’s other recipes are on par, there might be some added value to Cook of Be Cooked! beyond entertainment.
Symon said that beginning November 3, you’ll be able to “cook Food Network worthy meals in your own home” on equipment that mimics real life. Of course in real life, your dishes aren’t judged by Susie Fogelson and Mory Thomas of the Food Network.
Cook or Be Cooked! features plenty of Food Network recipes, rewarding technique and leaving no mess. Why play a cooking game when you could just jump on the stove? “The game gives you a foundation of cooking and allows you to use your mind and palate to expand,” says Symon. “What the Food Network has done is teach people that cooking can be fun. The game has taken this to the next level.”
Symon’s sous chef for the night was Meg Triplett Hall of Made by Meg catering, who was in my MediaBistro food writing class in 2007. She helped to make the tray-passed appetizers that circulated throughout the event. My favorite bite all night: griddled corn crepes wrapped around duck confit and coffee barbecue sauce.
Crab tater tots were a fun twist on a grade school classic.
Lamb kefta with yogurt sauce were made using a recipe from Symon’s mother. Ground meat is almost always a good thing. We also got bites of beef cheek pierogi, spicy dates with almonds and pancetta, and zucchini fritters with tzatziki.
If you’ve never heard of Hipcooks, the space offers “hands-on cooking classes for the novice and seasoned cook alike. Measuring implements are banned, tasting is encouraged, and your inner chef is invited to play. The best part? Every class ends with a dinner party!”