Designers and architects dished it up for diversity to showcase their culinary skills at the 14th Annual Culinary Challenge. The signature philanthropic event for the International Interior Design Association, Northern California Chapter (IIDANC) was held at One Workplace’s headquarters in Santa Clara on May 4th, 2017. The competing teams created a broad range of culinary masterpieces, which were a reflection of the event’s theme, Dishing Up Diversity. This year, all charitable proceeds benefited The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center. Nearly $3000 was raised at this year’s event.

The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, which is located in downtown San Jose, opened its doors is 1981. A year before it’s opening, The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community 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 LGBT Community Center serves a large and diverse community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of all ages and backgrounds. From day one, The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community 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 LGBT Community Center strives to provide a diverse platform for the community to meet, learn, be challenged and grow.

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 LGBT Community Center Gabrielle Antolovich. The participating teams were from 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. 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 won in previous years. 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 Williams Day Spa.

The entire event would not have been 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 these inspiring Culinary Challenges. Each year, contestants are given the opportunity to team build for a cause and share their unique recipes with all who attend. One Workplace looks forward to donating their time and resources for this spectacular event every year. To learn more, please visit: http://iidanc.org/