Silicon ValleyNews

IIDA Silicon valley Culinary challenge

Posted on: June 27, 2017

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Showcasing their culinary skills, designers and architects dished it up for diversity in custom aprons at the 14th Annual Culinary Challenge. The signature philanthropic event for the International Interior Design Association, Northern California Chapter (IIDANC) was held at our One Workplace Headquarters in Santa Clara, CA on May 4th, 2017. The composed teams created a broad range of culinary masterpieces which reflected the events theme, Dishing Up Diversity. This year, all charitable proceeds benefited The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center.

Located in downtown San Jose, The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center opened its doors is 1981. A year before it’s opening, The DeFrank Center’s founders had watched with concern as Santa Clara County residents voted to repeal ordinances extending housing and employment protections to lesbians and gay men. Today the Billy DeFrank Center serves a large and diverse community. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of all ages and backgrounds find resources at the Center that are not available elsewhere. From day one, the DeFrank Center has continued to inspire purposeful action and ensure a safe place to gather for all in the community. Through collaboration and unity, the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center strives to provide a diverse platform for our community to meet, learn, be challenged and grow.

Nearly $3000 was raised for the DeFrank Center. Teams prepared dishes based on one of the chosen food groups, Fruit + Vegetable, Carbohydrate, Protein, Dessert and Other. The food masterpieces were judged by a panel of impartial experts in the following categories: Closest to Theme, Best Taste, Best Presentation and People’s Choice. The judges included, professional chef, Nina Sheller, Interior Design Professor at SJSU, Diana Seah, and Board President of The Billy DeFrank Center, Gabrielle Antolovich. The participating teams were  of One Workplace, Steelcase, Shaw Contract Group, David Whitney Architects, AP&I, Gensler, Anderson Brule Architects, RMW, Habitec, and HGA. The contestants got creative with presentation themes such as an Apple Orchard, a Star Wars booth with matching costumes and a full Fiesta. Excitement and anticipation erupted throughout the room as participants and attendees taste tested and networked while awaiting the announcement of this year’s award winners.

Shaw Contract Group took home the Closest to Theme award. Their Star Wars themed presentation was fun, festive and creative. Their menu included delectable desserts like Storm Trooper Cupcakes, Wookie Cookies, and Yoda Soda. Anderson Brule Architects took home the award for Best Taste, followed by RMW who won Best Presentation for their entry entitled, How Might We Pursue the Dual Ideals of Equality and Diversity in These Challenging Times? Finally, Gensler was declared the People’s Choice award winner, a title that they’ve taken in previous years as contestants in the Culinary Challenge. Those who participated in the raffle had an opportunity to feel like winners for the night as well. The grand prize raffle winner took home a Santana Row package which included a trip to the Burke William Spa.

The entire event would hardly be possible without the hard work and dedication of the One Workplace Customer Experience and Graphics teams. Lynda Bisbee, Co-Chair and A+D Market Manager at One Workplace works tirelessly every year to organize and put together such well prepared, and inspiring Culinary Challenges. Each year, contestants are given an opportunity to team build for a cause and share their unique recipes with all who attend. One Workplace looks forward donating our time and resources for this spectacular event every year. Being involved in initiatives where we can construct positive change is what we strive for. The popularity of the competition and its overall structure continues to grow as each year passes. Although the challenge can get highly competitive amongst participants, we enjoy the friendly competition because it’s all for a greater cause. To learn more, please visit:

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