Friday, October 21, 2011

The annual lab culinary competition

October 17, 2011

The annual culinary competition is still my workplace's social highlight. That it occurred a week or two later than usual this year only served to heighten the anticipation. Our hyper-competitive lab leader was sadly absent but the quality didn't diminish for lack of his trash talk or formidable skill. This year tended towards fewer entrants, though many of them made multiple submissions - certainly no-one went hungry.

This is the one post each year where you'll see non-vegetarian foods on this blog. Everyone puts in a lot of effort, a range of dietary requirements are catered to, and I think every dish deserves a mention.

smoked wild trout dip
personally caught and smoked by the cook
winner of the Bear Grylls Award
co-winner of the Jane's Choice Award

an Iranian roasted eggplant dish with curd
winner for the Tastiest Brown Mush

lemon marinated flathead tails
and a coriander, mint and Thai basil salad
with galangal dressing
winner of the Taste of Spring Award
co-winner of the Jane's Choice Award

winner of the Herbaceous Award

(accompanied by the spicy tomato sauce below)
winner of the All-inclusive Award

tuna carpaccio
with lime, passionfruit, coriander and capers
co-winner of the Jane's Choice Award

braised fennel

pepper, sesame and fennel-crusted tuna
on asparagus and blood orange salad
co-winner of the Jane's Choice Award

two more nameless seafood dishes
co-winners of the Jane's Choice Award

winner for Best Tapas with Matched Wine

mystery meat

kangaroo sausage rolls

spiced meatballs

mushroom garden
winner for the Tastiest Garden

blue cheese and walnut baked ricotta

baked ricotta with lemon thyme and garlic

sweet and salty berry crispbread

barbecued chicken and pretzels,
accompanied by home brewed beer (pictured below)
award winner for Best Savoury Bakeage
and the Grand Prize Winner

a palate cleanser and an I.O.U. from an unlucky cook

bakewell tarts
winner of the Stru Award for Excellence in Pastry Making

buttery orange cake
co-winner of the award for Classics Done Right

lemon yoghurt cake
co-winner of the award for Classics Done Right

chocolate, coffee jelly and chestnut cups

Sicilian rose almond (twice baked) biscuits

bread and butter pudding with berry compote
winner of the Lady Gaga Award 


You can also see my reports on lab competitions in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.


  1. I love the "Tastiest brown mush" award!!

  2. WOW! Everything looks amazing - I wish we had enough staff to pull off something like this. Unfortunately it's me + 6 typically Aussie meat/potato eating boys who like their veggies over cooked! Haha.

  3. Congratulations on getting the Herbaceous award, how appropriate! ;)

  4. Looks amazing!!

    Once again I curse my day job. Great pics, not a hipsta shot in sight, well done!

  5. Hi Jackie! It was well deserved - that eggplant dip was fantastic.

    Appetite Affliction - yep, we have a lot of staff and a lot of keen cooks round here... a bit of a rarity. :-)

    Thanks, leaf. I should probably confer the award to Ottolenghi!

    Ha, thanks Lauren K. The lack of filters does leave my poor understanding of lighting exposed.

  6. I envy you your foodie colleagues - I miss morning teas where I am now - sounds like lots of fun - checked out your original brownie post and thought you must be pleased at making them with cheese cake filling that remains light - is there is a trick to it?

  7. Johanna - to be honest these brownies turned out on the heavy side. I'd guess the best approach for lightness is room temperature cream cheese and lots of whipping.

  8. This is amazing, where do you work, can I have a job. What a great idea, I work in the food industry and we don't have anything like this. Well done for winning the Herbaceous award :)

  9. Thanks, Adriana. I work in a uni science lab, nothing in particular about it should draw such talented cooks. :-)