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Has anybody had success with Patrol Iron Chef cookoffs?

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  • Has anybody had success with Patrol Iron Chef cookoffs?

    I've often talked with some of the other adult leaders about how to liven up the boys' cooking. One idea that often comes up is Patrol Iron Chef. Has anybody done this successfully? IF so, do you have any tips. Has anybody tried it, but failed? What do you think could have helped it to work?

  • #2
    We've done it a few times. Basically we have monthly theme of cooking where each week is a different theme like: "one pot", "Dutch oven", "over a fire" and so on. At the end of the month we do the Iron Chef, sometimes on a campout, sometimes at a Troop meeting. The scouts seem to have fun and the ideas are pretty good. I kind of suggest a month of different themes only to give scouts a little time to come up with good ideas. If you were to just announce it now for next week, you might be disapointed. Barry


    • #3
      We have done this and general cooking competitions. The Iron Chef they had to select from a variety of mystery ingredients. The last cooking campout each patrol had to plan 4 hot meals based on certain themes. I was impressed all 4 patrols managed to push out 4 hot meals each. All were edible even after some disasters--I will say MUCH bacon was consumed. Not recommended to be a judge the day before your lab draw! Oh my triglycerides!


      • #4
        We did a Top Chef competition as part of our Cooking MB class within the troop. It worked out well, taught the boys some things outside the requirements and helped amp up the cooking on camp outs.


        • #5
          I have posted this before but we did one last year and the adults were the judges. One patrol made sure we were served first and explained to us how they prepared everything. The other patrol just dug in and we got the leftovers.


          • #6
            we haven't done iron chef as a troop but have had a scout compete at the one at our summer camp. We do have duct-tape ribbons on the patrol flags for different things - one is for cooking. Adults judge each campout and base winner judging on taste, working together, cleanliness of area after.


            • #7
              Iron Chef Thursday became one of the highlights of Summer Camp - and barred attending any council camp that did not allow us to do our own cooking. (Troop's own SC every other year. Different council camps alternating years.) The patrols really got into it. The PLC would decide on three ingredients that had to be used. Dutch Oven had to be used for at least one course. Other than that the sky was the limit. Yum! The PLC decided there would be three ways to score: 1) originality; 2) quality; and 3) presentation.


              • #8
                We've done it a couple ways.

                One is to give patrols a larder of food for the weekend and they have to take the ingredients and figure out a menu for the weekend. Usually there are a couple obvious menu solutions, but we give extra credit for think outside the box.

                The other is to make it more like the TV show where the patrols cook one meal using several required ingredients but with access to a variety of extra spices, ingredients, and cooking utensils. One thing we did with this was to recreate the Iron Chef stadium by having all the patrols set up their patrol kitchens in one area. While the patrols may try to keep what they are doing secret, this allows the Scouts to learn from each other. Actually makes for a much more fun activity.

                One thing we do which does more to step up the level of patrol cooking is during Troop Junior Leader Training. Early in the day we have the boys pick one over the top recipe they want to make for dinner. Anything goes -- something you've always wanted to cook, something you were afraid to cook. a favorite meal you've never had on a campout -- whatever. We haul out stacks of camp cook books and challenge the Scouts to come up with something. Failure is totally okay. There is a grocery store a half mile from the Scout House in one direction and a McDonald's in the other -- we won't let you starve no matter how bad it is. After the Scouts come up with their recipes, we send one on the adults to the store while the boys continue with the JLT program. This is one thing which we encourage adult participation. Rather than allowing them to flop, this is a good opportunity to for the adults to work with the scouts and teach new cooking skills they may not have seen before. The guys really en


                • #9
                  Iron Chef is one of our troop's favorite outings. We use an off-season council camp and get a building with some table space - something like a craft lodge. Friday night, Scouts arrive, set up camp, have a campfire, etc. Saturday we have volunteers from the families show up to teach various culinary skills. It's one of the few adult-led instruction activities we have. Patrols rotate through three stations in the morning (about a half hour to 45 minutes each), learning things like proper knife skills, preparing a whole chicken, mixing sauces, making stocks, spices, baking, etc. (all the cooking is with dutch ovens, backpacking or camping stoves). Then the scouts usually go off for a couple hours at a local pool. Afternoon there are three more instruction sessions, then it's Iron Chef time!

                  We unveil the mystery ingredient and the "pantry table" where we've got a collection of food available for them to use. They have 40 minutes to come up with their menus, then it's the Draft. Each patrol in turn gets to "draft" one item from the pantry, so they sometimes have to contend with another patrol picking something they planned to use. 90 minutes to cook three to five dishes, then the adults judge.

                  Saturday night they do whatever, and Sunday we pack up, clean up, and head home.

                  They're pretty creative and actually do a really good job putting together decent meals. The most amazing thing to me is how energetic the Scouts are about it. Even the guys who are usually slackers bust their behinds.


                  • #10
                    We have done this three years running now. The scouts really have a fun time with it. This past year the SPL and his staff ran the entire show, planning the secret ingredient, the rules and judging. Lots of fun. (The adults still cook for themselves out of self preservation).