Action Kitchen: A Top Chef Fundraiser, Team Builder

Watching the season finale of Top Chef last night, I knew firsthand the pressures the chefs endured because I had spent the day trying to win my own culinary contest at the Action Kitchen at the Seaport Hotel. If you regularly follow my blog, you know my hospital is no stranger to the Seaport Hotel. It's been the host hotel of our annual Gala for many years. And its exhibition hall across the street was the home for Halloween Town for five years.

Our time at the Action Kitchen was part of a staff retreat that broke our development office into two competing teams. We had a great time! Each team had a fridge full of food and a Seaport chef to help with our creations.

The best part was the total focus on fun. The staff was great, helpful and they even cleaned up! After the competition--which my team unfortunately lost!--we ate both team's dishes! It was definitely win-win.

I wish I could say I was helpful to my team, but I wasn't. I can barely boil water, much less prepare the beautiful chicken and risotto dish my team plated for the event. I spent most of my time taping and tweeting the event (and trying to get a decent signal on my iPhone!).

In this short video, Chef Scott gives my team the early lead. But, hey, what did he know, he was on our side!

In the process of tweeting--instead of tossing salad--I started sizing up the Action Kitchen for fundraising. Not only would it be a great place to host a fundraiser--multiple teams vying for the title of Boston's Top Chef--but it would also be a great venue for our corporate partners.

As many of you know, we tend to bundle our cause marketing programs with multiple partners. This helps with, among other things, cross-promotion.

Dangling the Action Kitchen as a prize would be a great incentive to get the competitive juices flowing! The top fundraisers from each store would make up a Top Chef team that would compete against another retail chain.

I'd be sharing the experience with cause marketing prospects for months to come.

My pitch: "I can't cook, but I bet I could still cook better than you. And I have just the place where we could find out."