Saturday, October 27, 2012

The annual lab culinary competition

October 19, 2012

My workplace's annual culinary competition is still kicking on, though sadly without our usual most honoured guest this year. The event has developed a formidable reputation; we had at least a dozen new students and staff on the invite list and many of them seemed more nervous than excited. They proved highly competitive on the day, with many of the prizes awarded to first-time competitors. 

The most epic entry in the competition's history was contributed by a group of newbies. Though they professed not to be keen cooks, they constructed a stunning "panscape" from pancakes, sponge cake and all manner of lollies, covering several square metres and documenting many of our research group's favourite ecosystems. Other visual highlights included a biscuit-based eggs-and-bacon breakfast and some chocolate truffles that appeared to have dropped from the wrong end of a wombat.

Michael skipped his own work responsibilities and joined in for the first time. (He also took most of the photos in the slideshow above, while I fussed around with my entries.) We both focused more on favourite flavours than fancy looks and this paid off with three prizes for three entries. Michael tossed together Ottolenghi's quinoa salad with feta and Persian dried lime, I baked a gluten-free choc-cherry cheesecake, and then I conceived san choy BLTs - lettuce cups containing slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, marinated tofu 'bacon' cubes and a dab of kewpie mayonnaise.

The usual annual disclaimer applies: the slideshow above will probably contain some pics with meat. The lab culinary comp aims to be an inclusive event and I extend that to my documenting of it.


You can check out past competitions: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006.


  1. How awesome! I wish my work did that. I brought some buxom cupcakes in for pink ribbon morning tea on friday only to discover I was one of the few who actually went to a kitchen rather than a supermarket to provide food......

    1. Hi Rach_the_vego! Yeah, we're not all cooks but there is a surprisingly high density of kitchen-users in my workplace. :-)

  2. I look forward to this post from you guys every year! It's amazing - I especially love the teabag shaped biscuits for dipping in your cuppa! So simple but so brilliant.

    1. Hi AA. Yes, those biscuits were really cute and their paper tags had our workplace logo printed on them!