“10 minutes left!” Chef Khaleel reminded the three groups working speedily to finish their cooking challenge dishes in time for the judging. This isn’t Iron Chef, Chopped, or any other competition cooking show – it’s a group participating in Cooking for a Cause at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Cooking for a Cause is a half-day culinary team building course conducted by our professional chefs in the IFFS commercial kitchen. The course is specially designed to stimulate collaboration and communication among group members through a series of cooking challenges and culinary skills training. The group also experiences the satisfaction of preparing food for distribution to families in need.
The Food Shuttle Kitchen cooks and blast-freezes over 2000 meals per week using fresh food that is recovered daily from over 200 food donors. Though we’re not actually on a cooking show, because we never know what might come into the kitchen, every day at the Food Shuttle really is like the TV show “Chopped”!
The Food Shuttle Challenge includes:
- A line-cooking speed competition.
- A cooking challenge using an assortment of fresh ingredients arriving in the kitchen that day.
- Judging for the coveted Golden Spatula Award.
- A PB & J making race
Chef Khaleel and Chef Terri
Teams are judged both on how they work together and communicate, as well as the creativity, visual appeal, taste, and use of ingredients in the meals they make. For those less experienced cooks, we offer three “Ask the Chef” ticket lifelines per group to get advice or answers from Chef Terri or Chef Khaleel. Use them wisely.
Recently, groups from Red Hat and NetApp have participated in this team-building experience. The competition can get intense at moments, but that’s when their creativity shows. Some participants even proved to be true marketers, pitching the worth of their prepared dishes to the judges! Here’s what they’re saying about the experience:
“If you want to have fun and get to know your team, the IFFS cook-off is a great way!”
“Cooking for a Cause was a lot of fun and a rewarding experience...I really enjoyed making meals for others while also competing against and working with my coworkers.”
“The activity really honed in on teamwork. The setup and execution of the activity was superb! I think that the thoughtfulness and detailed approach to the activity made it successful.”