When I was in Beijing back in September I mc’d a fun team building cooking competition at SWITCH! SWITCH! is the restaurant in Beijing that my partner in Asia, Billy Kawaja and I opened a year ago.
An international group of 29 women and one lucky guy were divided into 6 teams of 5 people each. Each team had to designate a member to be the noodle chef, the dumpling chef, the pork rib chef, the fortune cookie chef and the creative director. The designated guest chefs went on to work with our SWITCH! chefs to learn how to prepare their Chinese dishes.
Fresh dough is twisted and stretched by hand and shaped to create classic northern noodles. Assisted by our master noodle chef, our guests have their hands full trying to stretch and bounce the 1.5 m length of dough with grace!
Under Chef Jack’s guidance, participants used some muscle, crushing the black beans mortar and pestle-style then cooking the ribs to tender and flavourful excellence.
Lao Beijing-style dumplings rolled, filled and steamed to perfection by team members.
In Chef Sam’s pastry kitchen the trainee chefs baked their own fortune cookies. While the cookies were cooling the team members created their own destinies, penning their witty and wise fortunes, hopefully earning their team the crown of the best team of the day!
They had 45 minutes to create their dish. Meanwhile, the creative directors were in charge of getting their own team’s consensus on a team name, slogan and and assisting with a unique message for the fortune cookie.
When the 45 minutes were up Master Chef Billy Kawaja did a brutally honest yet lighthearted “Gordon Ramsay” style critique of the dishes. He graded the teams on taste, technique and presentation of their dishes and last, but not least, their team spirit!
The evening finished with a delicious buffet which included the Chinese dishes that the guest chefs had learned how to prepare. Too much fun!