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March 05, 2012

Luxury Chili Pepper Hot Cruising Fun - Is That The New Volvo Brand Image?

MonteluciaResort_volvoPart scenic test drives of the 2012 Volvo XC60 T-6 R-Design with a dash of Hot Chili Pepper Polestar and the 2012 Volvo XC70 Cross Country, and part stay at the Montelucia Resort & Spa, a top-rated luxury Scottsdale hotel for a Volvo media event, was a sweetly serene, restful and FUN atmosphere.

The setting was filled with the softly floating notes of Native American pipe music everywhere, panoramic stunning views of rocky outcroppings, outdoor fireplaces, pool side private cabanas, gourmet coffee, gelato, chocolate, fine wine and interesting delicious cuisine options.

The first night I enjoyed a lovely tapas style dinner and watched the very rain delayed, multiple crash delayed, fiery crash at lap 40 delayed Daytona 500. Was so fun to watch that race with a bunch of the top automotive media pundits. Go Matt Kenseth, congratulations on your well earned Daytona 500 win!

The Montelucia resort recently hired a new Executive Chef, Michael Cairns and he brought his team building 'A Game' expertise and enthusiasm on the second night by hosting an outstandingly FUN Volvo Iron Chef Southwest Chili Cook Off event.

IronChefs_Volvo2Iron Chef America, one of the most popular food shows in history, is part cooking show, part reality TV. The premise of the show is fairly simple: start with the best chefs, the "Iron Chefs,"  then add a guest chef who challenges one of the regulars. What follows is a duel -- a race to make five dishes in just one hour. The twist, and there is always a twist, is the secret ingredient, revealed at the start of each battle.

When we arrived the entire Volvo team was entirely decked out cowboy style, as was the venue. We were provided everything you can imagine as ingredients for our chili including optional "secret" ingredients you could earn or bring to create the winning chili to race to claim the title of Volvo Iron Chef Southwest Chili Cook Off Winning Team. Now, it was not that easy as teams had very little time, hardly knew each and had to get it together quickly, including earning ingredients and decorations for the tasting presentation by completing team challenges.

IronChef_Volvo_ChiliEach team, there were eight total, donned our chef hats, team color coded western neckerchiefs, aprons and raced to complete in a just one hour. It was intense  pandemonium from start to finish.

Our Black Bark Chili team definitely came together quickly with team spirit, lust for victory and a chili cooking' 'A Game'. We demonstrated great teamwork, had a wonderful top chef, lots of creativity, our own special cheer (team mega phone provided), impeccable style in presentation, the right answers as game players extraordinaire, special touches like cheese slices with Volvo cut outs as garnish and the right stuff secret ingredients including pure Agave Tequila shots prior to tasting to WOW or perhaps ply the judges during the tasting presentation phase?

And the Volvo Iron Chef Southwest Chili Cook Off Winning Team is (drum roll please).....The Black Bark Chili Volvo Iron Chef Southwest Chili Cook Off Winning Team - YES, Our team won first place!

Black Bark Chili Team VolvoThe Black Bark Chili Team:

Mark Fulmer - The Auto Channel
Bob Gritzinger - Auto Week 
Donald Nordlicht  - Automobile Magazine
Tara Weingarten - Vroom Girls 
Jody DeVere - Ask Patty Automotive Advice for Women

The Volvo Iron Chef Southwest Chili Cook Off was so FUN I woke up the next morning giggling, now THAT has not happened for a long time, more fun than I have had in a long time. Note: Also an outstanding team building experience for all.

The final evening we all dined at Cowboy Ciao an eclectic Old West roadhouse, "where both ranch hand and city lady would be welcomed and feel comfortable", in downtown Scottsdale. My meal of the highly touted Stetson Chopped Salad,(my favorite dish), the Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry and Multiple Chocolate Bread Pudding desert were all amazing. The meal portion sizes were fit for a starving ranch hand. I also really got a kick out the Cowboy Heaven wall with photos memorializing dearly departed Spaghetti Western cowboys, including John Wayne.

A big thank you to Volvo for including me on the luxury chili pepper hot cruising Volvo (WAY) Fun..With Some Sun Media event. Hope you enjoyed the Rattlesnake eggs gag :--)

Rattlesnake eggs
Took a ton of pictures and a video highlights of the Chili Cook Off: View the entire collection here. Still laughing!

My reviews of the of the 2012 Volvo XC60 T-6 R-Design, with a dash of Hot Chili Pepper Polestar and the 2012 Volvo XC70 Cross Country coming soon!

Jody DeVere


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