We have periods of downtime at work while we wait for the busy season. During those times, we coordinate staff activities to keep us engaged with one another and promote mental and physical wellness. Recently, one of these activities struck me as being a great activity for families during the pandemic. It’s even something that could be a friendly neighborhood competition: a virtual Chopped competition.
To plan this event, send out an email or message to your targeted group, whether that be extended family members or neighbors, and to request contestants for the competition. Once you have your contestants, send out the rules of the game. These were our virtual rules for our competition at work:
Tomorrow, contestants will pick up their bag of “secret ingredients” before leaving for the day. Ingredients will be ready for pickup at 1:00 pm on the 9th floor. You can pick them up anytime between 1-5 pm.
Over the weekend, come up with and execute a recipe using all four of the ingredients along with your pantry staples. You can add any ingredients you would like (even a protein), but you must use all four “secret ingredients”. Your dish can be an appetizer, entrée, or desert.
Once you have completed your culinary creation, submit a description of the dish, a photo of your plated dish, and a video of someone (a friend, family member a neighbor, etc.) tasting the dish onto the work Facebook page.
Next week, an impartial panel will judge your entry based on your submitted photo and video. The criteria for the judges will be presentation, creativity, and appetite appeal (Did the taster like it and do the judges want to try it). Once the winner is chosen, they will receive the coveted chef’s hat…and bragging rights.
As you can see, since it is virtual, there was not an actual tasting. Instead, one of the criteria was “appetite appeal.” It was really fun to watch the reactions to the prepared dishes.
For those who want to do a long-distance competition, have each contestant get their own items for the competition, but be sure the mystery ingredients are widely available.
An alternative to having impartial panel of judges decide the winner, is to have all of the participants vote by liking their favorite Facebook entry, but not allowing them to vote for their own (to avoid everyone just voting for themselves).
Our office had so much fun doing this, and I actually won the competition! I could easily see this being a fun activity for the entire household. It could be such a fun extended family or neighborhood competition to compete between different households to see who will be crowned Chopped family champions.