BDO CIT’s 1st spice off

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1495452562682{margin-top: -55px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Our first Spice Off

Supper clubs, market stalls, retail sales and catering have been our bread and butter (pun definitely intended) for the past year. However, thanks to the out of the box thinking by Tarun’s ex-colleague, we were invited to pitch for their next team bonding social event. Their requirements were “simple”:

  1. lots of fun;
  2. make it competitive;
  3. teach the team something new;
  4. keep it close to the office; and
  5. don’t blow their annual social budget;

This got our creative juices flowing, so we took a break and tried a new ice-cream recipe. Within a couple of days, we had a plan, the pitch and the company’s buy-in. And that my fellow foodies is how new culinary adventures get created.

The date was the 20th of April, the venue was a chic designer kitchen shop located on Wigmore Street, W1, and we were pumped. Typically, at such corporate events, you can expect a 10-15% attrition rate from those that agree to attend, however in this case the attendees increased from 30 to 37.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10167″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10215″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Once we had dealt with assuring people that they had in fact arrived at the correct location, the above mentioned designer kitchen shop, we kicked off proceedings. Tarun thought his enjoyment for watching stand-up comedy could easily translate to performing it…lets just leave it at the fact that most people sound funnier in their head rather than out loud! Luckily, that was not the main attraction, so with people suitably distracted we moved the proceedings on.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_single_image image=”10170″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]First stop for the night was a trip down spice lane. 15 spices from around the world were laid out for the six pre-arranged teams to smell and touch and hopefully guess. With a ten point bonus for guessing all the spices correctly, there really was a lot to smell for. Now, we had budgeted 10 minutes for this ice-breaker challenge, however get a bunch of accountants together minus their trusted calculators and surprise surprise they really do know a thing or two…about what they’ve seen in their nearest Tesco recently. Let’s just say we had to forcefully take the spices away after 30 minutes of the most exaggerated smelling we have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, we could not prevent some of the sabotage undertaken by some of the more scrupulous teams.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10172″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10173″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Next stop was a fair and square spice-off. Six teams, three rounds, three different recipes, two cooking stations, nominated recipe coordinators and built in relay-play; what could possibly go wrong?

First up, we had the smoked aubergine dip recipe. One of the two teams decided to char their aubergine, despite the recipe highlighting the fact that this had already been done for them. Double of most things is usually better, double chocolate, double caramel, you get my drift; however double the char, not so much! Once we had persuaded them that the aubergine in front of them really was charred, they got cooking. Both teams showed different methods to mash the aubergine, cook the tomatoes and spice the mix, with both teams looking over the shoulders to second guess what they should be doing. However, the real difference came to the plating. No challenge is complete without a slow motion tasting by an acclaimed chef/critic. In our case, we had invited an extremely accomplished foodie (whatever that is), Mr.G, who also happened to be our host for the evening. Later, he revealed that carrying out the taste test was one of the most difficult tasks he had ever undertaken.

Round one was well and truly, Smoked![/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10175″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10176″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Meanwhile, the spectators were treated to some of our lovely meatballs and salads, just in case one of the participants got a bit heavy handed with the salt shaker.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10178″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner el_class=”post-image” width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”10179″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Next up, we had chicken tikka bites. Usually, it is recommended to marinate meats for hours, if not overnight. However, the teams didn’t have hours, they only had 5 minutes; so massaging the meat was going to be crucial to this recipe and one team clearly understood this. Matters were also helped along by two extremely competitive recipe coordinators; On the left corner, we had Mr. A, who just doesn’t loose and on the right corner, we had Mr. B, who believes he is simply Better! Massaging done, it was now time to battle for prime position in the oven. Then came the agonizing wait to ensure the chicken is cooked but not over. Some used this time to plan their plating, some just munched on their garnishing. With seconds to spare, the dish was plated and presented to Mr. G for his verdict. Let’s just say, he didn’t lose this time either.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_single_image image=”10181″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]The final spice-off was the famous Indian street food mouthful of sweet, spicy, cool, crunchy goodness, also known as “Dhey Puri”. No real cooking required here, but instead it was a test of following instructions, keeping tidy, balancing the flavours, and being quick enough to avoid a soggy bottom. Yes, soggy bottoms are a no-no when it comes to Indian food too! This challenge also enabled us to answer the all important question: How many accountants does it take to assemble 40 delicious dhey puris? Once again, Mr.G with spoon in top pocket, was on the scene before you could say “Done!”[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10182″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10183″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10184″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]With everyone having had a taste of cooking or at least the result of the cooking, it was now time for the uber calm chef Kim to cool matters down a tad with a (cue flashing lights and an Animal drumming solo) Masterclass. Kim’s masterclass comprised of rose syrup, pistachios, chia seeds, rose petals, vermicelli, non-churned spiced ice cream, also known as “kulfi falooda”. Kim demonstrated how to assemble these chilled creamy treats, while Tarun ran around desperately trying to replicate one of those, “and here’s 40 we prepared earlier!” moments.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10186″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”10187″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]No team-bonding event can ever be complete without the megaphone style announcing of the winning team, even if the prize consisted of a sparingly used corporate branded umbrella. In this case, the winning team was the Chubby Chipmunks who pipped Nick’s Spice Gals by one point.

With that we had a wrap, although it did take some fairly non-subtle words to clear the attendees from the scene of the crime, while we tried our bestest to return the venue to its former showroom glory.

Based on feedback we received at the event and subsequently, we consider the event to have been a success.

If you are looking to arrange a similar corporate event or simply want to get competitive, get in touch.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10188″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10189″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”10190″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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