Virtual Cook-Off For Indian Oil Institute of Petroleum Management-

IIPM | Cook-off Challenge session done virtually


Cook-off Challenge session done virtually


To run a teambuilding session for the team virtually!


IndianOil Institute of Petroleum Management, or IiPM as it’s popularly known among IOCians, is the apex learning & development institute of IndianOil, the nation’s flagship energy major and the largest commercial enterprise in the country. The only one of its kind in the petroleum sector, IiPM aims to create a vibrant bridge of knowledge managers to lead the Indian energy companies.

Over the years, IiPM has grown from strength to strength and helped the Corporation in developing the leadership required to steer the company ahead with clarity, confidence & courage.


The idea to do this was triggered off by the ED of IiPM, Mr.C.K.Tiwari. “In the current scenario of the lockdown, how can we engage with employees in a manner that brings them together and also ensures they have fun together?” that was the question posed to us.

Various activity options were evaluated by IiPM. Finally, the Cook-Off Challenge was chosen, since it was thought that an activity that engaged both the employees and their spouses at home was required.
The key idea of the activity was for the participants in their (virtual) teams to cook a full course meal with a main course, dessert, starter and a mocktail, and of course in the process to feel connected with each other.

Execution of the activity:

Time – 20 mins
• At the scheduled time, participants logged in to the session via Zoom
• The facilitator started the session by welcoming the participants and kicked off the session with a few fun virtual energizers!
• The lead facilitator then briefed the participants about the activity, along with objectives, instructions & end goals
• One of the main objectives included that the teams prepare an entire meal, from starters, to main course, also a dessert and a mocktail.
• The group was divided into 5 teams of 5 participants each, at random.
• Once the activity started, teams could discuss, plan and strategize as to what each individual would cook

Time – 60 mins
• Every team got 60 mins to complete the challenge.
• Each team was also given two recipes (from another group) by the FocusU Faciitators. The ask was that the teams cook, in addition to the full course meal, at least one of the recipes from the two in order to gain bonus points.
• Family members of the guest were also a part of the challenge. They were encouraged to take pictures of the dishes being prepared and also capture the overall action in their kitchens and share the pictures too.

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Time – 30 mins
• After the stipulated time for the challenge, came the time for the debrief.
• The Facilitator invited participants to share their experience about the session – the challenges of working together as a team virtually, while having fun together.
• The discussion was guided towards intended outcomes of team creativity, collaboration, team morale in times of social distancing and working from home.
• The session was brought to a conclusion by announcing the winning team and the first and the second runners up. To do this, the pictures of the dishes were put together by the FocusU team and were shown to the participants, who decided on the winning teams through a simple poll based on creativity and presentation.
• The participants logged off with not just a great virtual experience and team memories to cherish, but also winning certificates and certificates of awesomeness!

A few points that emerged in the debrief discussion:
1. Team bonding – Participants shared that they had a good time connecting with their colleagues and their family informally and that it was a refreshing experience.
2. Coping with ambiguity – Several guests mentioned that when they decided on their recipes, they were under the impression that they would be required to prepare the same. They were taken by surprise when they were asked to cook something entirely different. It took some helping, problem solving and collaboration to decide who will cook what.
3. Helping each other – One of the behaviours that emerged was leveraging different people in a team in figuring out what their strengths were and dividing responsibilities accordingly.
4. Fun needs to be optimally challenging – Participants enjoyed figuring out which team member could prepare a certain dish taking into stock the availability of resources in the respective homes!

Check out the video from the program out here.


Here is what some of the participants had to say after the workshop (verbatim):

Dilip Kumar This challenge proved orderliness is possible in chaos.

ED, IIPM: Shri.CK Tiwari My sincere compliments to FocusU for energising the IOCians and their family members in a different, one of its kind competition. Surely, they would have sharpened their team skills.

Ratna Singh This garland of amazing memories will be cherished throughout our lives. Mirth and joy was at the zenith directly from the heart of hearts!!!!

Urvija Bajai What wonderful team spirit displayed by all! Am sure this would transfer to the workplace setting too. Great!

Vineet Kumar Thanks to everyone I really loved it.. you made my lockdown 🙂 My first such event and it was really goooooood and scintillating, you guys gave me a new cocktail drink- “The Heaven’s Call”, which I will cherish for a lifetime… Keep rocking 😊

Vaibhav & Kashish Mathur It was awesome and a fabulous idea of involving all family members in this cook off challenge, making it quite some fun and innovative.

Ajay Kumar I was excited, then surprised, engaged and now amazed. This was a fully packed competition. Like it and want to live it again.

Juliana Haloi Cooking is just more than food. It’s the whole family bonding over good food, fun conversations and togetherness. Thank you Sir. I am indeed privileged and humbled to receive this certificate. I am grateful to IiPM for providing us the platform for showcasing our culinary skills and I also thank my team members for their combined efforts and coordination

Deepika Soni We came…..we got together……it was an endlessly-delicious journey.

Mayurika Patwari Working towards common goal, building strong teams & coming out with delicious results. This was it.

Rizwan Ali My first ever such participation. Lots of enthusiasm, fun and interaction with people from different location. It boosted my interest on cooking. Thanks a lot for making this wonderful event IIPM & FocusU.

Neeraj Kr Singh These Garland of amazing memories will be cherished throughout our lives! Mirth and laughter, ecstasy & joy, inspiration & motivation, zeal & passionate quench for excellence and above all team play was at its zenith which made the show one of the most brilliant, liked family engagement program ever organised by IiPM under the creative & dynamic leadership of our beloved ED & IIPM Head, Shri C K Tiwari Sir and team FocusU making it a grand supreme success!!!!

K K Chandra Thanks to the IiPM team for organizing this kind of innovative exercise.

Dilip Kumar Thank you Sir and team. Hats off to the entire IIPM team to conduct such a great event in this pandemic time. Thanks for the opportunity and looking forward for such events in future

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