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Crowne Plaza Hunter’s team cook-off challenge


The Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley demonstrated its ability for hosting creative team-building activities recently, when turning its Grapevine Cafe-Bar into a large-scale kitchen for a cook-off challenge.

More than 70 human resources staff from IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) properties across Australia and the Pacific participated in the Crowne Chef Challenge, a team-building exercise based on the popular MasterChef TV series.


L-R: IHG staff Shereen Mathew, Alesha McMillan, Melissa Zaniol and Alisha Warren.  

The challenge was a highlight of the four-day IHG Human Resources Learning Event Conference, held at the hotel in May this year.

Participants were provided with a chef’s hat and apron, divided into groups of four, assigned one of four culinary roles – executive chef, sous chef, apprentice or kitchen hand – and set to one of 18 work stations specially set up for the challenge.

Teams were given two minutes to devise a menu comprising four dishes, one minute to collect the required ingredients from the pantry and one hour to cook and plate up their dishes, matched to wines.

Dishes were judged by a panel of experts – including Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley general manager, Thomas Tait – in a finale played out with all the suspense and anticipation of the popular MasterChef TV show.

Each member of the winning team was awarded a holiday at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley while the losing team received wooden spoons.

Prior to the challenge, participants were taken through the necessary OH&S measures, such as completing basic training for knife handling.

The cook-off challenge, and variations thereof, can be replicated and incorporated into programs for conferences and events held at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.

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