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Food Fight: Battle for the Big Gulp

If you gave us the keys to a 7-Eleven, we’d walk out with a stack of lottery  tickets, an armload of forties, and Gummi Worm–induced intestinal cramping. Luckily,  three celebrity chefs came in with us, so we walked out full of three mind-blowing, mouthwatering meals.


Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

THE RULES

With a 30-minute time limit per course, each chef must make an entrée and a dessert using only materials and ingredients found in a 7-Eleven. OK, they can also bring in one special ingredient of their own as long as it doesn’t overpower the meal.


THE CHEFS

Dale Talde
Former Top Chef contestant, owner of Talde in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I’ll wake up in the morning with a pile of chips, booze, and candy bars, and be like, ‘Where the fuck did I get all this stuff? Ah! I got it at 7-Eleven.’ ”

Nadia G
Host of Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen on the Cooking Channel

“Growing up in Montreal, we had different convenience stores, but I’ve become pretty familiar with 7-Eleven’s beer and chocolate.”

Spike Mendelsohn,
Former Top Chef contestant, owner of We, the Pizza in
Washington, D.C.
“There’s been no rivalry between Dale and me since Top Chef. Plus, neither of us ever wins anything, anyway!”

 



THE JUDGES

Michael Ian Black
Comedian, author

“I’m the cohost of the world’s most important snack-food podcast, ‘Mike & Tom Eat Snacks,’ making me a certified snackologist.”

David Swanson
Deputy editor, Maxim
“For the past 25 years, 7-Eleven has been the go-to dealer for my Cool Ranch Doritos addiction. And Slurpee-licious brain freeze!”

Krunal Sheth
General manager, 7-Eleven, Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.C.
“Most people come to 7-Eleven for the Slurpees, but after working here for two years my favorite late-night snack has to be the Buffalo wings.”


JUDGING CRITERIA

 

Presentation: How good does it look?
Taste: How delicious is it?
Effective use of 7-Eleven products/equipment: How well did they embrace the challenge?
Creativity: Is this something we could never think of?


DALE TALDE

Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Entree: Bacon Ramen
Kimchee-flavored Nongshim ramen with bacon, 7-Select peppered beef jerky, and poached egg

Chef’s commentary: “I grew up eating instant noodles, especially the kimchee-flavored ones that were available at my local 7-Eleven in Chicago. There’s also this casserole dish I’d always get in Korea Town with weird little Vienna sausages, braised bacon, and a poached egg they would crack over your plate. That’s the inspiration behind my dish.”

Judge David: “It looked like a mess, but the bacon brought an awesome rich smoki­ness to the broth. And I’m glad he left the noodles a bit crunchy. This would be good for anyone on a midnight ramen run.”

Judge Michael: “I think Dale did a great job blending flavors to make a pan-Asian ramen white-trash gumbo. That’s a potent combination.”





Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Dessert: Black Cherry Float
Mike’s Hard Black Cherry Lemonade and Cherry Lime Joose float with vanilla yogurt

Judge Krunal: “It was too similar to a root beer float…just something we’ve had before.”

Judge David: “I think I would’ve preferred a root beer float.”


MEAL VERDICT: Dale won points for upgrading your dorm-days ramen without any special ingredients, but his fruity float left the judges unsatisfied.



NADIA G

Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Entree: Chicken a la Queen
Rustic chicken stew made with unbreaded 7-Eleven chicken tenders and carrots and celery from dip kits, served over a warm biscuit taken from a breakfast sandwich and topped with gravy

Chef’s commentary: “Usually you come to 7-Eleven for greasy, tasty snacks, but I brought a mix of spices so I could cook up a nana-tastic dish.”

Judge Krunal: “Nice use of our pro­duce. I doubt I could re-create this here.”

Judge David: “It’s like a deconstructed pot pie— really comforting.”


Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Dessert: Sweet & Salty Chocolate Duo 
Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream with candied  7-Select honey-roasted peanuts and pretzels alongside Hershey’s chocolate bacon

Chef’s commentary: “It’s perfect salty- sweet PMS food for your girlfriend. It would’ve been great if the chocolate bacon had more time to set, but like my dad used to say, it all ends up in your stomach!”

Judge Michael: “The ice cream seemed like it could’ve been premade, but the chocolate bacon was very successful. I would’ve been curious to see how the bacon tasted in the ice cream.”

Judge David: “It looked pretty and composed, but I think the ice cream was missing the salty flavor she was going for.”


MEAL VERDICT: Nadia’s twist on a chicken pot pie was a hearty, restaurant-quality dish. When it came to the choco-late duo, however, the judges felt the two
bites should have been combined to make for a more dazzling dessert.


SPIKE MENDELSOHN

Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Special Appetizers: Frito Pie, Bacon-Bourbon-Spiked Slurpee
A spicy mix of Fritos, chili, cheddar cheese dip, and sour cream from the condiment tray, served with a bacon-bourbon-spiked Coke Slurpee

Chef’s commentary: “The chili is all 7-Eleven, but I made the bacon-infused bourbon at home. There’s nothing like a nice twist on a Jack and Coke.”

Judge Michael: “I like eating anything out of a bag, so the Fritos were delicious. And when you go to 7-Eleven, you’d better fucking incorporate a Slurpee into that meal!”


Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Entree: Buffalo Chicken Pizza
A modified 7-Eleven frozen pizza slathered with béchamel sauce and topped with blue cheese crumbles, frozen 7-Eleven chicken tenders, ranch dressing, and Frank’s hot sauce

Chef’s commentary:
“The trickiest part is making the béchamel sauce. This is my first time making a roux in the microwave. [French cooking pioneer] Escoffier must be rolling in his grave.”

Judge David: “He used all the components of Buffalo wings, which was great.”

Judge Krunal: “As a microwave authority, I know the dough needed an extra 30 seconds.”
 


Photographed for Maxim by Andrew Hetherington | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Dessert: Marshmallow Cereal Milkshake
Vanilla-roasted marshmallow milkshake made with 7-Select ice cream and Fruity Pebbles, garnished with Lucky Charms and Cool Whip

Judge Krunal: “There were a lot of things in there, but each individual component came through on its own.”

Judge Michael: “This is such a festive milkshake. The only thing I would have added is some fresh banana.”


MEAL VERDICT: WINNER! The extra course paid off: Spike embraced the challenge by putting a spin on our favorite items and cranking ’em up to the next level. “This win is for the folks who rely on 7-Eleven for their livelihoods and drunk indulgences. It feels excellent to stand here with the Big Gulp!”

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