MasterChef Moms Compete at Friendship Circle Mom’s Night Out

A special thank you to Andrea Birnbaum for photography of this event!

It’s not every night you get to compete and participate in a reality food competition! That is precisely what happened on Wednesday, January 20 for over 30 mothers of children with needs.

Friendship Circle arranges over 15 mom’s and dad’s nights out throughout the year which are designed to provide much-needed respite and relaxation to parents of children with special needs.

Wednesday’s event took the definition of a mom’s night out to a whole new level. The event, called MasterChef FC, was held at the beautiful Henry Ford West Bloomfield Demo Kitchen and featured delicious wine and salads for the moms to enjoy.

The Main Event

FC MasterChef Mom Contestants

Contestants from left to right: Melanie Maas, Deanna Granitz, Jennifer Moss, Lisa Labelle, Stacy Larson, Jen Lovy.

The main event featured a MasterChef-style contest where six moms were divided into three teams of two people each.

Competition among Friendship Circle moms was nothing short of fierce on Wednesday night when three teams of “chefs” squared off in Henry Ford Hospital’s Demonstration Kitchen for the chance to be crowned Friendship Circle MasterChef. This talented group of amateur chefs – and by talented, we mean they didn’t burn down the kitchen – had 30 minutes to wow a panel of celebrity judges with their culinary skills and creativity in the kitchen.

Moms Masterchef

Deanna Granitz removes the mystery box and reveals the ingredients she will use.

Each team was given a mystery box with multiple ingredients and instructions to use at least three of the ingredients. They were also given access to a stocked cabinet and the option to use salmon or chicken. As fellow Friendship Circle mom’s watched from the audience, the blue, red and yellow teams chopped, mixed, cooked and sautéed a unique signature dish. The results were nothing short of… unique.

FC Masterchef

The Judges

The Judges

To judge the contestants Friendship Circle brought in a trio of celebrity chefs with extensive experience in the Metro Detroit Area.

Hunny Benarroch

Hunny Benarroch
Hunny grew up in an observant Jewish family, where her cultural roots were expressed in the form of authentic recipes from Morocco, Israel, and Spain. From a young age, Hunny closely watched her mother prepare these dishes from scratch. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she began to recreate these dishes with her own approach, but still maintain classic flavors and techniques she had grown up with.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Business and Communications, Hunny decided to hone her culinary skills by enrolling in the Art Institute of Michigan’s Culinary Arts program.  This invaluable experience has allowed her to work with countless inspiring chefs, clients, and organizations. She strongly believes in the importance of sustaining life through eating well. She will be the Executive Chef of Friendship Circle’s Soul Cafe when it opens in the spring of 2016.

Hassan MusselmaniHassan Musselmani

Born in Detroit and raised in the Metro Detroit area, Chef Hassan Musselmani’s extensive culinary background and passion for food started as a young man in his family’s kitchen.

Working in the culinary world since the age of thirteen, Hassan has continued to gain knowledge and experience that has lead to his opening of several Metro Detroit venues and to being an integral part of the accomplishments of many popular local restaurants.

Hassan is currently competing on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Brandon Schatko

Brandon Schatko

Brandon Schatko has extensive experience and is renowned as one of Metro Detroit’s top executive chefs.
After graduating from Wayne State in 2011, Brandon immediately assumed the role of executive chef and has developed and managed some of downtown Detroit’s finest restaurants.
Brandon has experience as an executive chef in a number of different environments including golf clubs, hotels and even assisting in the planning and execution of the Belle Isle Grand Prix, feeding 18,000 People.

The Dishes

The contestnts

Dish #1

Lisa Labelle and Jennifer Moss of the Blue Team, managed to impress the judges with their wildly imaginative presentation of salmon, fig couscous, stir fry and star fruit.

Dish #1

Dish #2

Melanie Maas and Denna Granitz of the Red Team, worked feverishly on their signature dish – a chicken slaw with peanut sauce. Like the Blue Team, they also garnished their plate with star fruit.

dish #2

Dish #3

Stacy Larson and Jen Lovy rounded off the competition as the Yellow Team.  Together, they prepared an Asian-inspired salmon and stir fry. This dynamic duo was the only team to prepare a dessert to accompany their entrée. Unfortunately, their chocolate covered strawberries failed to impress the panel of judges because one Yellow Team chef failed to realize the chocolate was unsweetened and in desperate need of sugar – lots of sugar.

Dish #3

The Winner

Despite the dessert debacle, the judges found the Yellow Team’s salmon the most palatable and well-presented dish of the evening.

IMG_1585

Bonus Round

Little did the judges know that a surprise was in store for them. After the winners were announced. the judges were asked to cook a dish of their own! Check out all the pictures below.

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