The big group dinner I’d say was a huge success. It was great to see a group project like this go through all of the steps of idea to plan to more concrete plan to action. Hannah and Cian came early and the three of us went grocery shopping. We cooked and ate at my house which has a very big kitchen, so when we had thirteen cooks in the kitchen it didn’t get all that hectic. It was really great the way everyone quickly got to work and found different things to do; we very quickly became a very efficient team. I cut my thumb within the first five minutes of cooking while demonstrating an onion cutting technique, so I was out of service for handling food which was fine by me. I fell into the role of coordinating the chaos and delegating tasks and keeping track of the recipes – a role that I fall into very easily. We ended up going a little over schedule and didn’t start eating until 20:00, though not because of anyone slacking, we were going full throttle the whole time cooking chili, cornbread, enchiladas and guacamole. We set up one long table which we sat quite cozily around and kept with the theme by listening to the Buena Vista Social Club. After dinner Sam and Rochelle made churros that came out a little gooey but were still very good.
On Monday we took some time to reflect upon the experience and came up with a few ways it could’ve gone better:
1. Specific roles – There were a few point-people set ahead of time (Soleil and Hannah make the enchilada, Sam the churros,Quinn the carnivore option) but we thought it could’ve been even more efficient had everyone been assigned a role.
2. More bacon fat! – We (mostly Clay and Nolan) made two cast-iron pans of cornbread (with homegrown corn), one with butter and one with bacon fat. People like the bacon fat.
3. Dietary restriction markings could’ve been better – The two non veg. item were marked, could’ve been marked better.
4. We went over budget – We discussed collecting funds beforehand or raising more money next time.
5. Knife skills workshop beforehand – Many had not worked in a kitchen before, so we thought it would be helpful to start out with a knife skills workshop next time. I also think it would be helpful to have just a general kitchen skills workshop, go over prep bowl use, prep/storage/grill stations, clean as you go, etc.
6. Names for stations – We discussed how a better tour of the kitchen beforehand as well as naming stations would be helpful.
7. Keep better track of ingredients – We discussed how it could be helpful to have a point person for each dish that can keep track of everything that goes in their dish. This would prevent doubling of certain ingredients.
8. Liam wants to do less prep – Liam said he wants to do less preparatory work next time.
9. More prep time – We started cooking at 17:45 which really wasn’t enough time to finish three dishes by 18:30. I should’ve know that, I’ve cooked food before. Next time we’ll start earlier.
In all, a huge success! We had a good time, learned some things, and ate a huge meal together. After debriefing about it we planned a second group dinner for Sunday, December 14th. Our first prep meeting for this dinner will be Monday, December 1st.