"And your time begins now!"
And with that, a room full of anxious amatuer chefs excitedly began to design their own bizarre food inventions. MAP's third-annual Bagel & Deli Competition had commenced.
With 30 minutes to choose from an array of bread, meat, cheese, spread, toppings, chips and sauces, there was no time to spare. In order to win, an eye-pleasing sign had to be drawn, the dish needed to be named and the bagel needed to be impeccable.
One team drew an elaborate turkey and an angry pig to depict their turkey and bacon masterpiece while another decided how to concoct the spiciest sandwich possible.
After the design process, the sandwiches were built and heated, and then the taste-testing began.
Bagel & Deli co-owner Gary Franks judged the event, hoping for a creative medley of ingredients from each two-to-four-person group.
"Obviously, taste is the first and foremost," Franks said. "But, it has to be something that is not too crazy, so that people will order it."
The winning sandwich will be sold at Bagel & Deli, with the sign posted on the wall with the other iconic bagels.
"If it catches on, we might leave it up there for good," Franks said.
Franks said it isn't possible to choose a favorite bagel from the collection of permanent sandwiches sold at Bagel & Deli. But if he had to decide, it would be between the Get Swanked, the Konrad or the Burt Reynolds.
The entries ranged from a spicy Dragon bagel -- stuffed with pepperoni and spicy mustard -- to a Shrek bagel. According to the judges, it was a very difficult decision, with six bagels that were really good.
As the judges deliberated, contestants chowed down on the bagels they had just created. The room, happy and stuffed full of hole foods, buzzed in anticipation of the announced winner.
Second place was handed to the "Jam It In There," a blueberry bagel jammed with jelly, cream cheese, turkey, bacon and swiss cheese. Their artful sign, the one with the angry pig and turkey, received a shoutout from co-owner Franks for being the best.
The winning combo was a blueberry bagel filled with sausage, cream cheese, cinnamon and butter, entitled The Breakfast Buffet. The victorious team donned their new Bagel & Deli shirts, and made plans to order The Breakfast Buffet the next time they are Uptown.
The other teams, however unsuccessful, left feeling content and inspired to order some crazy bagel combinations.