A Flavorful Fyood with a Cherry On Top:
Team-Building with Wex
Wex @ Fyood
Right from the start, this vivacious group seemed ready for anything their light-hearted Fyood team-building challenge could possibly throw their way. Our Tasting Room practically burst with laughter from the moment our smiling new friends sat down: It only intensified as Maddie, our OG MC, divided the chefs into teams and grilled the Fyoodies regarding their feared Mystery Basket Ingredients and all-time favorite foods.
After a brief lesson about geoduck (pronounced “goo-ee-duhk”), an awkwardly-large species of clam, Mike (a.k.a. Brick) revealed his deep hatred of asparagus. For Tony, the most horrific nemesis in the kitchen was something a little sweeter - strawberries. All of the chefs buzzed with anticipation, some a little more nervous than others as they ascended into the Fyood Kitchen to begin their challenge.
Anything But Geoduck
Sure, we did have a red fruit and a green veggie waiting for all the Fyoodies in their Mystery Baskets, but they narrowly dodged their worst kitchen nightmares. After a brief tour, the Fyoodies had nothing left to do but take deep breaths, steady their feet, and find out what their Mystery Baskets had in store.
Despite all four teams being shocked initially by the abundance of intense flavors they found in their Mystery Baskets, many of the Fyoodies quickly sprang into action, some deciding right away to go above and beyond the tasks at hand. Andy got to work marinating and breading chicken for both himself and Rita, showing quick-thinking for ways to make a complete dish for those not fond of fish.
Bernie, also on Andy’s Team (Shake ‘N Bake), went in another direction for the star of the Mystery Basket and the rest of the soon-to-be-Judges’ plates, choosing to showcase the Arctic char alongside shrimp and other boldly flavored ingredients. Their partner Geliene too wanted to do something special for her coworkers - she used her fierce knife-skills to whip up a refreshing side fruit salad complete with rich homemade whipped cream and a dazzling smile.
Big Flavors, Bigger Personalities
Though smaller in numbers than the other teams, Tony and Peggy of Team Reggy spent the intense forty-five minutes packing big flavors into their small plates. Perhaps one of the quietest teams we’ve seen, this duo used their strategic and level-headed composure - and some corn and bacon from the pantry - to develop depth in a bed of sweet and savory cherry succotash to complement their lightly seasoned Arctic char.
Mindi, Rita, and Mike of Team Brick Trio chose to highlight the flavors of the Mystery Basket Ingredients by going a slightly simpler route. After spicing and baking off their char, the team focussed on presentation, making sure to include colorful, evenly-cut pieces of fresh produce both from the Basket and the pantry. After Maddie commented on Mike’s seeming lack of confidence in their dish - “It’s just a salad,” he quoted toward the end of the round - he glanced around the kitchen, stating with a smirk, “I’m seeing some serious competition here.”
Confidence - and Coworkers - Are Key
As the round of cooking started to wind down, the chefs began thinking about the names of their dishes, hoping the added creativity would aid in securing their judges’ votes. When asked what his team’s dish was called, Bernie of Team Shake ‘N Bake replied that he didn’t know its name yet, but he was sure it would win over his peers: “Oh yeah. Oh, I know. These guys - Geliene and Andy - they can sell anything.”
When the last moments elapsed from the clock, Team Sharon gathered around their masterpiece for a photo, displaying their pride in their communal efforts toward the resulting dish. A spicy addition of chorizo from the fridge, along with white rice flavored with the cherries from the Mystery Basket, came out of the incredible focus displayed at this team’s station throughout the round.
Team-Built, One-of-a-Kind Dishes
Really, all four teams of chefs had something to be proud of - every dish came out creative, composed, and colorful, much like the Fyoodies preparing them.
During the final dish presentations, the quiet demeanor that many of the Fyoodies had adopted while cooking gave way to eruptions of laughter once again (not to mention a healthy dose of heckling). Tony, during Mike’s presentation of Team Brick Trio’s dish, asked if he meant ‘asparagus’ rather than ‘scallions,’ resulting in a quick retort about mention of the team about making a strawberry chutney during the round (sounds good to us, anyway).
After sharing their experiences in the kitchen, the judges enjoyed the dishes, taking time to sample and chat about each one with their teammates. The room quieted as scorecards were given out, and suddenly the laughter gave way to a buzzing intensity among everyone in the room.
“We Didn’t Realize We’re All Chefs”
Out of everything, the judges’ opportunity to provide feedback for one another’s dishes showcased just how close-knit and jovial this group was, before and after their heart-racing team-building experience in the kitchen. The chefs complimented each other immensely for decisions like Team Shake ‘N Bake’s side dessert and Team Brick Trio’s raw preparation of their vegetables in their simple but far from plain salad. The sweet and salty contrast in Team Reggy’s succotash impressed many as well.
However, there could only be one winning team, and with their perfect preparations of two different proteins and rice, it was difficult for the Fyoodies to find fault with Team Sharon’s winning Chorizo Char with Cherry Rice.
Each and every one of our newest WEX friends left their team-building event smiling and laughing all the way out the door, and we’re not surprised - we know an awesome group of people when we see one. Thanks for spending time with us, WEX!