Rather than travel back home to the US in the summer of 2020, our family stayed in Doha, Qatar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a long, hot summer with no place to go (as all public areas, including beaches, parks, and pools, along with air-conditioned indoor places like malls and entertainment, were closed). We were so grateful that the Marriott Hotels of Qatar organized a virtual (!) “Chop Your Way” cooking competition in July 2020. Nick and I spent the entire weekend making this one chicken! LOL. We had so much fun with this challenge. (And the boys had fun with their cameo at the end too!) 

The good news came a couple weeks later: We were one of the winners! The prizes: A gift certificate to a fancy restaurant at the Sharq Village & Spa, and a one-on-one cooking class with the resort’s executive sous-chef! 

I really appreciate Marriott organizing this challenge, which helped us take a break from the real world for a moment. Recipe credits go to Molly Stevens for her incredible book All About Braising and Bon Appétit/Epicurious for their “Roasted Baby Potatoes with Thyme and Rosemary” recipe, from which my submissions were adapted. And big thanks to the Piano Guys for their “Pictures from an Exhibition” song, which definitely provided much-needed momentum to the video!