Do You Have the Chops? Wii Do.

By: Secretary Confidential
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Cook or Be Cooked 02:53

A chat with the creator of Cook or Be Cooked, a Food Network-based game.

Most secretaries don't count testing video games as part of their job responsibilities. But Food Network has high standards and everything gets tested plenty--even our new Wii game, which hits stores tomorrow, Cook or Be Cooked! We Food Networkers all wear many hats, so when I was asked to try out the new game, I got my nunchucks waxed and ready to go. I loved having a sneak peek and I corralled a few colleagues to play with me in one of our television-filled lounges (sorry, those pictures are top secret!).

In seconds, VP of Marketing and The Next Food Network Star judge Susie Fogelson and Food Network Kitchens chef Mory Thomas came to life before us, explaining how to play the game and how we’d be judged. Funny how something that looks so simple and seamless on screen took hours and days and weeks and months of planning! They'd be watching how we cooked, of course, including timing, seasoning, multitasking and temperature of several different dishes. Then, they'd give them a taste. The pressure was on! The idea is to start with simple dishes and cook your way through dozens of culinary treats until you're master of a Food Network-worthy virtual kitchen.

We fried up eggs and bacon for our first recipe. You’d think that would be a rather simple meal, but crack that egg on the edge of the skillet the wrong way and--splat!--major points are deducted. I'm usually too busy keeping everyone and their meetings on track to play much wii, so there was a bit of a learning curve for this new chef, not only with the food but also with gaming technique. We had to use our time wisely. If, say, the eggs take eight minutes and the bacon six minutes, start your eggs first. Once you start one task, you can’t move on to another until you’ve completed the first. Note to future players: Too much pepper can be a catastrophe! Ahem, I found this out rather quickly. (Hungry for breakfast all of a sudden? Get more recipes here.)

My colleague, Dan, who likes a challenge opted for a more expert meal and made the Penne, Turkey Meatballs and Quick Marinara Sauce--looks like the recipe might have been inspired by a Giada extravaganza. As he chopped his onions, he was told the correct way to dice them. I liked this: You’re not only playing a game but being taught technique along the way. It would be fun to play thgis game with kids--they'd be learning to cook while I got used to getting my video game on!

The game includes more than 30 Food Network recipes, so from breakfast to dinner, you can make a whole week's worth of meals without dirtying a dish (or gain a pound)! You’ll learn new recipes to try with confidence for real,  and you'll get helpful cooking tips from Mory and Susie. And, for a competitive twist, you can also play in "Hot Potato" mode with four people or have a cook-off battle with two players. So, are you ready to Cook or Be Cooked? Happy gaming--get cooking or get cooked!

- SC
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