Staff Bake Off

Once a month we try to hold an event for staff only at the university.  One of the people on the staff morale committee is my boss, she came up with the idea to have a staff baking competition, advertised the event then came to me and said how do I do this?

Having been involved with cooking competitions while in culinary school, I immediately created a judging criteria, which in turn lead to me creating forms for the judges, sign up sheets for the competitors, and a system for blind tasting.   I had a ball!

We had seven brave souls enter their homemade goods for judging, quite a few more just brought treats to share.  The competition took place during one of our lunch hours last week.   We recruited the pastry chef from our dining services provider, as well as their marketing person, and their catering director.

I kept things simple, a three-point system in three categories – taste, presentation, and originality.   I have said it before and I will say it again, we are fiercely competitive at my school, staff baking is no exception!  Here are pictures of the three winning entries:

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All in all everyone had a good time, it was a lovely way to pass an hour, sitting with colleagues , eating dessert, and cheering on your fellow staff members.   It is not an easy thing to put yourself out to be judged, I admire all those who had the courage to do it.  Especially knowing that an actual pastry chef was one of our judges, good for them!  First place went to Bunny, who made the acorn cookies, it is a Nutter Butter cookie, cut in half, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with jimmies, the final touch, a small piece of pretzel added to the very top.  It was just so cute, I think it would be the perfect thing to take to any Halloween celebration you might have this week.  Second place went to Bill for his Double Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies, the pastry chef even asked for his recipe! Lorraine came in third with her take on caramel apples, it was an apple sliced with a caramel jello filling.  Very original!  Honorable Mention went to Debby for her Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting.   Can you tell we are suckers for chocolate and peanut butter at my school?

I brought a treat to share, since I had created the judging criteria and would be assisting the judges and setting up the blind tasting, I figured it would be a conflict of interest to also participate.   I am not sure what the committee has planned for November yet, it is such a busy month at work, but I am sure it will be exciting and fun!


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