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November 22, 2017

The Essex in Vermont Rolls Out Culinary Events

cook academy

The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort and Spa has announced a number of culinary-themed team building events for meeting planners. 

Several available options can be tailored to meet the needs of a specific group:

  • Iron Chef Challenges for 16-40 people
  • The Essex Trivia Challenge 10-100 people
  • Cooking for a Cause for 2-20 people
  • Cooking classes for 2-12 people
  • Semi-hands on cooking classes for 2-50 people
  • Cooking demonstrations for 2-200 people

All participants are provided with Essex aprons to wear during the events. The winning team in
competitive events will take a home a new apron as a prize.

Iron Chef Challenges

All Iron Chef Challenges include the participation of one (or more) of the property’s chefs, who will lead the proceedings, explain the challenge, and answer questions throughout the competition. Teams can be chosen randomly or assigned previously based on goals for specific groups. The hotel can also include real-life elements of a professional kitchen (such as product shortages, staff reductions and changes in leadership) to see how teams hold up.

Teams will choose a team name and a name for their dishes. They will also craft a written menu description of the dishes they will present to the judges.
Points can be earned for answering culinary trivia questions presented by the Chefs (or, planners may elect to provide questions relating to their individual group participants and/or about their business.) Correct answers can also garner coveted food items to enhance their dishes.

Plates are judged by The Essex Chefs, and/or anyone planners would like to include in this role, on taste, creativity and presentation. Additional points are added or subtracted pending station cleanliness and food waste.

Mystery Basket Challenge

The hotel also offers groups of three or more a mystery basket of key ingredients that need to be utilized in the final dish they present to the judges. Teams will make either [an appetizer & entre] or [entre and dessert] for judging, with separate mystery baskets for each course. The hotel places an emphasis on local, seasonal food items.

Stationed Iron Chef Challenge

Billed as Iron Chef meets Family Feud, meets Chopped, this competition is designed for 16-40 guests.

This team building exercise pits teams against each other in a round robin of culinary stations (i.e. Gnocchi, Pasta, Sauce, etc.). Trivia questions and other challenges are woven into the competition to encourage communication and team strengthening.

Themed Menu Challenge

  • Mange pasta: Competing teams make homemade pasta entree of their choice using an array of pantry items.
  • Vermont Small Plates: Teams create three small plates (appetizer or snack) for presentation from a stocked pantry, and they must use three signature Vermont items. Participants then eat their creations along with additional chef’s-choice appetizers from the property’s kitchens.
  • Eat Cake: Each team receives two 8”-round cakes that members must cut, fill, frost, and decorate for presentation. Participants take the cakes home or back to the office.
  • Crepes: Competing teams are given a recipe for crepe batter and access to the pantry. This can be a team-building event or a competitive challenge as contests can be narrowed further to savory crepes, sweet crepes or a mandatory use item.
  • Gnocchi: Competing teams are given a demonstration on Gnocchi making and flavoring, thenlet loose to create their own flavor combinations for judging.

The Essex Trivia Challenge

Groups are broken into competing teams to complete five rounds of culinary trivia/blind tastings/food identification and/or puzzles.

Cooking for a Cause

Held in the property’s Cook Academy teaching kitchen, this event includes a donation to an area charity. The hotel’s professional chef will guide groups through the preparation of a specific meal for their pre-determined charity. Event menu and specifics are designed with the chosen charity in mind.

Participating charities for Cooking for a Cause include the Ronald McDonald House, Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, Spectrum Youth Center, Hope Lodge and Essex Meals on Wheels.

Private Cooking Classes

Hands-on classes are held in either the hotel’s JK Adams Kitchen or Chef’s Kitchen. Participants will work with a chef (and assistant, for more than eight people) to create a three-course meal, which they will then sit down and eat. Seasonal menus can be tailored to client’s specific interest. All participants take home a copy of the recipes.

Semi Hands on Cooking Classes

The semi hands-on cooking class allows attendees to relax and observe the hotel’s professional chef in action, as well as have an opportunity to try their hand at making and sampling a fresh seasonal culinary creation. Participants will observe one of the chefs demonstrating any one of a number of local fresh dishes as well as get a chance to make and taste a small portion of the dish.

Cooking Demonstrations

Small and large groups can have a professional chef come in and demonstrate how to make one of the hotel’s packaged buffet items or any number of local seasonal dishes. 

Planners can also work with the hotel’s team to design a custom event. 

Visit www.essexresortspa.com

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