There’s no denying this country loves its food and when you take your chamber event to the next level, moving past just a meal at a table, you’re sure to get people talking. The following “tasty” food-centric chamber event ideas can be stand-alone events or be part of an existing event.
However you combine food and fun, your event is bound to draw a crowd of attendees who will have a delicious time.
8 Tasty Ideas for Your Next Chamber Event
Chamber Dessert Dash
This event is a lot of fun because it encourages movement and competition. It also plays on the fear of missing out and ensures impulsive decisions which can be comedy genius.
For this event to be a success, you want high-quality desserts–from a visual perspective and from a taste. But they absolutely must be a feast for the eyes. Line up as many beautiful desserts as you have tables.
Invite people to peruse the desserts ahead of time, working up an appetite and desire. Your guests will begin plotting and planning which one they want to stake claim to. This is also a great icebreaker for the table because they will have to decide together what dessert they want for the table.
All the attendees at the table will be invited to pool their money together and place it in an envelope on the table. You can also use a bid sheet so that people aren’t limited by the amount of money they have on them.
The table that “bids” the most money will be given the first pick of the desserts. Tables will need to nominate a “dasher,” who will run for their dessert when their number is announced.
Once the top bidding table number is announced, their dasher must immediately run for their dessert. They must be decisive because ten seconds after the first table is announced, the second can go, and so forth. The energy is contagious as everyone cheers on their dasher.
Your emcee can even do a hilarious play-by-play announcement.
If you want more ideas on how to make this a success, check out the file in the Chamber Pros Facebook group.
Variations: Do this with individuals instead of tables or use a different item for the dash like wine or artisan cocktails instead of desserts.
Chamber Dessert Auction
If your audience is a little more reserved or your event is not the type where you want to encourage people to run, consider a dessert auction instead. You can use an auctioneer or host a silent auction. Your attendees will bid on their favorite desserts with the highest bid winning. You can auction off a whole dessert items or single portions.
Variations: Consider hosting a wine auction or even a services auction where people bid for services from member businesses. You can do this with anything from marketing services to plumbing.
Taste of _____
Taste of events are extremely popular, especially with the farm-to-table movement. Set up outdoors or in an expo center. Invite local restaurants or catering organizations to bring a few items for the audience to sample.
Sell tickets the way fairs do for rides. Each food costs a specified number of tickets. When a taster orders something off the tasting menu and pays for it with tickets, those tickets also become mini ballots for “Best” awards. The business or dish with the most tickets wins bragging rights for the Taste of event.
Some chamber event ideas lend themselves perfectly to certain holidays such as the Chocolate Dreamscape. This is a popular event around Valentine’s Day or Halloween but could easily work year-round. Invite bakers and master chefs to create a chocolate dessert that is both delicious and a work of art. Sell tickets for people to taste (and vote) for their favorites.
Variations: You needn’t do this only with chocolate. The point is that the chef is seen as an artist. The food can be anything.
Gingerbread House Competition
The holiday season is an ideal time for this sweet competition. Invite local bakers or restaurants to submit their gingerbread houses to your panel of judges. Your panel can be comprised of board members, community leaders, kids, educators, or any other group you want to honor. You can also sell “judgeships” for even more revenue.
After the judging is over, you can auction off the delicious homes for top bidders to enjoy.
Variations: If you find gingerbread too limiting, you can create an event around food structures of any sort. How about creating a theme of edible miniatures of popular buildings in your area?
Just like it sounds, this is a contest for the best brownie. You can create many categories such as best tasting in healthiest, gluten-free, and the non-chocolate categories. If the participants are willing, you may be able to do something creative with their recipes as well such as a recipe book of winners.
Variations: You could create any kind of bake-off or artisanal cocktail-making contest.
Food Truck Rally
Food truck rallies are every tired parent’s dream. Where else can you make every member of your family happy? No more arguing over whether you go for pizza or curry. When you host a food truck rally, there’s very little setup on your part and you provide your audience with a ton of options. You might find a local food truck association that could make this a turnkey event idea. This can also be a nice change on the menu for your next event. After all, things always taste better in a truck.
You can host a multi-course event spread out over the entire area: appetizers in one spot, artisanal cocktails in another, your salad course, meal, and dessert in different restaurants. The change of setting can be fun and encourages people to talk about their experiences.
Variations: you could also try a pub crawl with different bars providing their signature drink. Want your group to stay together and you’re worrying different locations will prohibit that? Then rent a trolly, hay ride, or bar bike to ensure the fun continues in between stops.
The Beer Mile
Runner’s World introduced us to the “Beer Mile” in 2014. Runners take their mark on the starting line of a standard 400 meter track. When the gun goes off, they chug a beer and then start running. Each lap requires that another beer be downed. (The world record is an astounding 4 minutes and 28 seconds!)
Revenue could come from sponsors, entry fees, tickets to attend and even “betting” on a winner. This could be a profitable addition to any food or beverage-related festival. How about a “Garlic Mile” in Gilroy? Instead of going off-site, create a “track” going up and down the event aisles, or around the block for larger footprint events. It doesn’t have to be a mile unless you’re going for an official record. Stage judges around the route. “Losing” your beer is grounds for disqualification.
Variations: Beer or other alcohols might not be appropriate for your event, so try one of the many creative variations including the Taco Mile. Think about soda pop, chocolate milk, hot sauce, ice cream or a local specialty product.
Final Considerations for Food-Related Chamber Event Ideas
These tasty events are sure to get your community talking but they also can provide a high-visibility platform for emerging catering companies and new restaurants. Use them to launch foodies looking for funding. Maybe someone in your community wants to open a restaurant, catering business, bakery, or deli but lacks the money to do so. This type of event can showcase their skills and help them land funders. This can be a tasty way to push innovation and entrepreneurship in your community.