Vested’s Summer Adventure: Cooking up some competition

Adrienne Robbins

Director of Operations

You know what they say: if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The same is true for PR and communications. It can be a grueling career, not unlike that of a chef. It’s demanding with long hours, requires planning and lots of behind-the-scenes prep. Service is typically delivered with a smile and the final product must be balanced, smooth, and memorable. Both careers require a great amount of creativity, flexibility and a sense of friendly competition; and both offer a huge sense of accomplishment when all is said and done.

So it was only fitting that Vested head to the kitchen, Top Chef-style, for our recent summer outing.

Vested Summer Cooking Adventure


We kicked the day off with a delicious in-office breakfast before heading over to the My Cooking Party venue, but the friendly competition had already begun. Prior to the event, the office was split into two groups: Team 1 and Team 2. My team, Team 1, thought we’d bring our A-game by color-coordinating green bandanas for the day’s festivities. Remember what I said about planning and prep? Nothing screams Team spirit! more than planned outfits. But great minds think alike, creepily alike. Team 2 had basically the same idea, and showed up in yellow bandanas. So coordinated! I swear we didn’t plan it! Guess we’re all cut from the same paisley cloth.

Let the Cooking Games Begin

Decked out in our coordinated accessories, we poured into the My Cooking Party space for a game of trivia. Team 1 ultimately won the quiz, which meant we could choose the recipe we would cook, and two different recipes Team 2 would cook. On the menu? Team 1 chose chicken le cordon bleu and apple fritters (yum!) and assigned Team 2 chorizo taquitos and egg rolls. The strategy — both taquitos and egg rolls required the stuffing to be cooked and the whole thing to then be fried. Time was a key element in winning!

Our recipes in-hand, we took off for the grocery store for a fury of ingredients shopping and started piling the necessities into our cart. If you happened to be in midtown a few weeks ago, and saw a bunch of lunatics in bandanas running around, I apologize on behalf of my colleagues.

Vested Summer Cooking Adventure

Competition Heats Up

Back in the kitchen, Team 1 divided and conquered to take on our two dishes. At Vested, we’re used to a fast pace and working in teams, so this element was a piece of cake (er, piece of fritter?). But we were being judged on more than just taste—judging criteria also included team spirit, first to finish, teamwork and food presentation—so there was plenty of support, mixed in with quite a few “WOOOs!” to keep the energy up. Team 2, meanwhile, threw in a few chants!

Bon Appetit (and drink)

Finally—the food. After worthy presentations for the judges, it was down to the wire, and taste was the final determinant. The judges agreed the chicken (Team 1) and egg rolls (Team 2) were the standout dishes, and made their decision based on the other two dishes. Fritters trumped taquitos (duh!) and, my team, Team 1, took home the title of Top Chef. Better luck next year, Team 2 🙂

We wrapped up the day with a table at The Standard for afternoon beers and a toast to an outstanding team — Team Vested, that is.

Our summer outing is a small but important part to what makes Vested such a unique and enjoyable place to work. The dynamics of teamwork, support, and the natural energy that come from working with such a talented and vibrant group of people transcend from the office, to the kitchen, to the bar, and beyond. Time spent away from our desks to let loose, have some fun, and of course, spar a little friendly competition, are exactly what make Vesties feel more like work teammates than co-workers.

Cheers to next year’s competition!

Vested Summer Cooking Adventure