Right now, staying connected to friends and family is more important than ever. Virtual pub quizzes are fun, but everyone might be hungry for something new!
So, this weekend potato company, Albert Bartlett invited three top UK Foodie Influencers to host a Lock-In Cook-Off and challenge a group of their friends or family via Zoom to “Do The Albert Bartlett At Home”. As a surprise, the company invited Albert Bartlett Brand Ambassador and Michelin starred Chef, Michel Roux Jr to join each party and record the reactions; he chatted with them, scored their meals on a scale of 1-10 and gave them tips for where their meals could have been improved.
In the coming days, Albert Bartlett will run a nationwide social media promotion where people would be asked why they would like Michel Roux Jr to drop into their virtual dinner party. Winners will be selected, and Michel would drop in for about 15 minutes on each one to judge what they cooked and chat to them.
The Lock-in Cook-off campaign was held live and recorded on Zoom to be pushed out on Albert Bartlett digital channels on 13th May. The Influencers and guests were provided with recipe inspiration and shopping lists to challenge everyone to cook Sunday lunch using Albert Bartlett potatoes. The three Influencers who participated were @Kitchenwithcumbers,MyFussyEater and Foodiequine.
The three influencers, who are all proficient cooks whose social followers have a foodie focus, were invited to host a virtual dinner party on Zoom and challenge each one to cook the same Albert Bartlett potato dish and be ready to score each other’s meals. Whilst they prepared to sit down to score and enjoy their dishes together, Albert Bartlett Brand Ambassador and Michelin starred Chef, Michel Roux Jr logged in and joined the party, chatted with them, scored their meals on a scale of 1-10 and gave them tips for where their meals could have been improved. Michel judged their table dressing and the presentation of the dish, and then asked them to take a bite to describe the aroma, taste and texture. Each guest was judged on presentation, taste and effort and given a final mark out of 10 by Michel, before he announced the winner – each of whom scored a perfect 10.
Michel Roux Jr said, “Joining a virtual lock-in cook off was so much fun, the enthusiasm was palpable, and I definitely had food envy.”
MyFussyEaster Ciara said: “My friends were a bit nervous beforehand, so I chose a recipe that’s easy and with minimal ingredients: Potato & Chorizo Cheesy Gratin. We were all messaging each other for an hour before the call whilst we were cooking, which was a nice way to build some anticipation and excitement for the Zoom call. They were all a bit star struck when Michel appeared, but soon relaxed and we chatted really well.”
One of the joint winners of MyFussyEater’s party, Bianca, said: “My top tip would be to really mix the roasted chorizo through the lightly boiled potato so that all those lovely chorizo juices coat the potato for a lovely deep smoky flavour. I really enjoyed cooking the dish knowing that all my friends were cooking the same thing at the same time as me and then getting on Zoom together and comparing dishes! I can’t believe that we were joined on the Zoom call by Michel Roux Jr, and to be chosen as a joint winner by him was amazing!”
KitchenwithCumbers Joe says: “Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and we are going to do it every Sunday for the next 4 weeks with another couple deciding on the recipe! Although I wasn’t cooking directly for Michel Roux Jr I still know he would have enjoyed the meal I prepared and he is certainly invited after the lockdown.”
Foodiequine Claire said: “We cooked perfect roast potatoes, domino dauphinoise, 28-day aged grass-fed belted Galloway beef, cooked with indirect heat on the BBQ, and parsnips and carrots with honey glaze. My son was on the BBQ, daughter on the Roasties, me on the domino dauphinoise and my husband was chief vegetable peeler and washer upper! It was a really nice thing to do via Zoom to beat the monotony of lockdown and having Michel join us was the icing on the cake of a fantastic socially-distanced Sunday lunch with friends.”
Winner of Foodiequine’s party, Paul explained: “I cooked a roast pork loin with perfect roast potatoes cooked in goose fat. I also did my version of hasslebacks with an nduja and fennel crumb and an apple sauce cooked out with star anise, and a little sugar and apple cider vinegar. I used Albert Bartlett Apache potatoes and sliced lots of incisions using two wooden spoons to ensure not to go right through. Oh, and absolutely star struck to meet Michel, as he is one of my food heroes and this is certainly something I won’t forget for a long time! And he has convinced me to try a potato pizza the next time I cook pizzas!”
Albert Bartlett Head of Marketing, Michel Jarvis says: “We wanted to create something completely different in this lockdown period and set up an event to add some excitement to cooking at home. Our recent advertising was all about the shared joy of a dad and daughter ‘dream team’ cooking together and we hope that our Lock-In Cook-off has captured some of that spirit of fun and humour. During lockdown, people are looking for new things to fill their time, new virtual ways to come together with friends or family, and non-COVID-19 things to talk about. We are thrilled this idea was so successful, and hope it inspires others to host a Cook-Off of their own.”
Source: Albert Bartlett