Last week I was invited to attend a holiday cooking event at the Chobani office in Charlotte. I love all things food and cooking and I love Chobani so I eagerly accepted. Chobani opened a sales office in uptown Charlotte about six months ago.
Their offices are on the sixteenth floor of one of the big buildings and feature a giant test kitchen!
Chobani invited a group of local foodies and bloggers to the event. I was happy to see quite a few familiar faces and connect with some new Charlotte-area foodies. We were welcomed with appetizers and wine. I helped myself to a glass of red wine and made an appetizer plate. All of the dips that they served included Chobani in the recipe.
We were encouraged to bring a guest so I invited my friend Lauren to share the experience. We were not quite sure what to expect going into the event but were thrilled to learn that we would actually be doing the cooking.
Chobani brought in one of their corporate chef’s for the event and he prepared all of the cooking stations for us with necessary equipment and ingredients. I would like to have this service in my kitchen all the time, please! Lauren and I claimed the pumpkin risotto station because we both agreed that stirring risotto and drinking wine sounded pretty up our alley.
The kitchen was busy with activity. Cooking is one of the things that I enjoy most and it’s even better when I can share it with such fun people.
Brittany was whipping up a batch of butternut squash soup at the station next to Lauren and me. We had a great time catching up with her. All three of us actually went to the University of Georgia and Lauren and Brittany were sorority sisters. Small world!
We got our risotto started by sautéing an onion and then adding the diced pumpkin, sage and rice. We deglazed the pan with a little white wine and then got to alternating adding broth and stirring for the next 20-30 minutes.
Risotto is one of those dishes that seems complicated and hard to prepare but really it just needs a little TLC. One of my favorite things to do to unwind in the kitchen is play a little jazz, light a candle, pour some wine and stir some risotto. It’s mindless but you feel so accomplished at the end to have created such a delicious dish.
It was so much fun to watch everyone else get their dishes together. Chef Tim was super helpful and walked around answering questions and helping where needed.
We plated our dishes and set them out to create our final spread. Starting at top and moving clockwise…gorgonzola crostini, mixed greens with honey walnut dressing, pumpkin risotto, holiday stuffing, asparagus with hollandaise, roasted butternut squash soup and smashed potatoes with broccoli.
We sat down for a family-style feast. Everyone did an amazing job with their dishes and I cleaned my plate.
The highlight of the meal came when I was seated right next to the iced gingerbread bundt cake. We sliced it up and passed it around the table. It was still warm from the oven and probably the best gingerbread I have ever had. I will definitely be keeping this recipe on file for future holidays!
A huge thank you to Chobani for organizing such a fun event. I regularly cook and bake with Greek yogurt but this totally opened my eyes to a whole new set of possibilities. Check out the Chobani Kitchen for recipes and ideas and stay tuned for another post about that pumpkin risotto!
Do you ever cook or bake with Greek yogurt? I find it to be a great sub for everything from butter and oil to mayonaise to sour cream…and apparently much more!