My very own “Masterchef” evening at Main Course

I work on a lot of promotions at work. These normally have some sort of reward – a trip to a rugby game; a 4-day stay in Queensland for the V8s; a super car drive day at Hampton Downs; iPads and occasionally movie nights. I decided last year that it was time to change it up, and so we offered a promotion for resellers for which the reward was a cooking class evening at Main Course in Beaumont Street, Auckland.My idea; I thought it was very topical and something which would inspire me to work to earn the reward.

Main Course have several offerings for these cooking evenings. Fine dining, tapas and pasta making. They did say that they would do gluten-free pasta, but it’s just not that easy. A straw poll at the office decided us on the fine dining option – a three course meal which would make a nice menu for a dinner party. You have several options for each course and get to choose which you would like to do. You can choose other items such as cooking implements, aprons and the like as giveaways.

We decided to get some aprons branded with our company name. I chose a menu which comprised a Vegetable Provencale Stack, Eye Fillet steak served on a kumara rosti with wilted spinach and a wine reduction and chocolate fondant with berry coulis.I picked this because it seemed  reasonably gluten-free.I organised some prizes, teams and name tags.

I rocked up with 3 colleagues and 16 lucky winners from various computer resellers. Jen was our host for the evening and demonstrated the dishes we were going to make. We split into 5 teams, each with 4 people and proceeded to compete against each other to see who could produce the best dinner and show the best teamwork. Jen picked the winning team (which happened to be mine :-)).

I can’t tell you how much fun this all was! The workstations are set up already with the ingredients measured out, a selection of pans and utensils and a lovely big oven, which I lusted after! My oven at home is undersized and I covet a bigger one. We brought some wine along and I remembered my camera so took plenty of photos. The quality of food we managed to produce was excellent and although the menu was simple, it was extremely tasty and it looked a million dollars. The end results were something that you would be happy to serve at a dinner party.

In my team was another gluten-intolerant person. I hadn’t talked to Main Course about this prior to us arriving. When I mentioned it to Jen, she said that the only things that had flour in it was the dessert. And that they normally had some gluten-free flour available, but that she’d check. Sure enough, out came gluten-free baking mix and our 50g of flour was duly swapped. I later learned that Main Course actually run gluten-free evenings.

So, I highly recommend Main Course. Their attention to detail is awesome. Sonya Oyston who I dealt during the organisation in advance of the evening was great. Jen, who hosted the evening, was a fabulous presenter and worked with us with both humour and skill. It was the best event we’ve done in ages, and the customers who attended were all incredibly positive.

We’ll absolutely do it again and I can highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they might do this.



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