We received a very short email in early March. It's curtness and efficiency belied the fun that would result a few weeks later:
Subject: Interested in an event
For approx 25 people. Wednesday April 15. About 5pm?
And that was it. The brilliant and hard-working research team at Pzena Investment Management wanted to come to Voilà Chocolat to enjoy some team-building, to take a break from scouring the global markets for value, and to learn how to make chocolate truffles.
Then the team at Pzena called us a few days before their event with this request:
"We'd like to do something in teams."
That's great. We can do that.
"And we'd like it to be competitive."
And so we assigned to our guests the task of making and decorating bark out of their leftover chocolate. COMPETITIVELY. Teams were to be judged (by one another) on 5-point scales of creativity, execution, and overall concept.
We were absolutely tickled that all 5 teams, without any prior coordination, decided to make Powerpoint slides out of their chocolate bark. Of COURSE, an investment management research team would find a way to make charts and graphs out of chocolate. One guest even cut the logo off of her business card so she could add it to her bark! (FYI for next time, we have better solutions for adding company logos to chocolate...)
And the chocolatey displays of quantitative information actually were REAL! As teams presented their creations to each other, they pointed at line graphs indicating assets under management and pie charts of asset allocations.
The bark creations were all so good, and the mutual judging was so consistent, that there was a scoring tie that could not be broken, even to 9 decimal places. Our own Chef had to break the tie with her professional chocolatier's assessment. Which proves one old bit of wisdom: sometimes, all algorithms just can't subsitute for long-term professional experience.