Blue Ribbon Cooking and Culinary Center

Photo by Paul Joseph Brown


Sailboats floating by and float planes gracefully landing on the waters of Seattle’s Lake Union, form the backdrop for one of the city’s most unique team-building venues. Perched over water along the eastern shore of the lake, the Blue Ribbon Cooking and Culinary Center offers a variety of cooking-based team experiences. Whether your group wants to do serious work on team communication and development, or you are simply looking for a fun off-site activity, Blue Ribbon can accommodate your needs.

Breaking bread together has fostered human interaction ever since people began organizing into tribes. Today, the kitchen can become a learning environment when groups participate in a cooking-based team-building activity. Whether it is a group of corporate executives, a sales or management team, or an organization looking for a way to enhance employee collaboration, a culinary activity be a powerful tool to increase organizational effectiveness.

The cooking process challenges a group’s creativity, communication, resource allocation and time management. Whether it is a competitive activity or a group collaboration, working together in the kitchen can become a fun, yet effective group development tool. “Blue Ribbon offers a wide variety of culinary activities that will be tailored to meet the needs of your group;” says Jill Petrie, director of events.

The activities at Blue Ribbon range from a specialized class for 10 taught by a chef-instructor to an Iron Chef-style competition for 180. A wide variety of hands-on culinary formats can be customized to meet the requirements and fit the personality of any group.

For groups that want to add an element of community service to their activity, Cooking for a Cause is an activity that combines a team-building experience while providing a assistance to community. The group works together to create delicious meals for themselves and, at the same time, creates a meal to be donated to a local organization such as Teen Feed that provides food and shelter to homeless youth. After the activity your group will enjoy a lakeside meal knowing that your efforts are also benefitting people in need.

Competitive events include Restaurant Wars, Food Truck Wars and a Classic Iron Chef competition. In Restaurant Wars, participants are divided into groups and each group creates their own restaurant concept. Groups name the restaurant and develop a menu, create a signature cocktail, design a table setting and cook a meal for their restaurant concept. After the competition, groups feast on all the culinary creations while the judges deliberate.

The traditional Iron Chef competition offers fast-paced action where groups, with the help of a professional chef advisor, compete to create a complete meal using assigned ingredients. For a uniquely-Seattle activity, Blue Ribbon can arrange a Pike Place Iron Chef competition. The
chefs will lead your group on a tour of Pike Place Market to sample the offerings and learn how to use the fresh local ingredients in creating their dishes. The groups then head to the Blue Ribbon kitchens for a rousing competition.

In addition to the team building opportunities, the venue is ideal for a special catered event. The dramatic location is ideal for fund raising banquets, special celebration dinners, and a wedding at the facility will be a memorable affair. Culinary classes for adults, kid’s cooking camps and birthday parties are fun affairs at Blue Ribbon.

For groups that prefer the charm and elegance of a country estate, the company also offers a private park-like property, the Sanders Estate, for special events. Located about 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, the Sanders Estate features a 100-year-old mansion and private lake surrounded by lush gardens and orchards. Group functions will take on a special air when they are held either location.


Jill Petrie, director of events