Competitive culinary events are a featured item on many teambuilding menus these days, and Vermont’s Essex Resort and Spa, located near Burlington, has a full bill of fare for those who like a friendly food fight served on the side with their meal.
The Essex, which even carries the tag line “Vermont’s Culinary Resort,” has certainly got a lot cooking up in the kitchen for groups—competitive and otherwise. Options include the following:
• Iron Chef Challenges (for 16-40), featuring the participation of one or more of its acclaimed chefs, broken up into Mystery Basket Challenge, Stationed Iron Chef Challenge and Themed Menu Challenge options.
• The Essex Trivia Challenge (for 10-100), where teams complete five rounds of culinary trivia tests, including blind tastings, food identification and puzzles.
• Cooking for a Cause (for 2-20), a teambuilding/social gathering hybrid led by one of the resort’s chefs and during which groups prepare a meal for predetermined charities.
• Private cooking classes (for 2-12), during which participants work with the culinary staff to create a three-course meal that they will sit down and enjoy together.
• Semi-hands-on cooking classes (for 2-50), in which attendees observe the resort’s chef prepare a seasonal dish and then get a chance to make and taste a portion of the result.
• Cooking demonstrations (for 2-200), where resort chefs demonstrate and then serve up a meal.
The resort is surrounded by 5,000 acres of forest and offers 20,750 square feet of on-site meeting space and 14 meeting rooms, with the 81,000-square-foot Champlain Valley Exposition Center about five minutes away via shuttle service.