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Dinner Parties Show Team Hospitality

Monday, October 7, 2013

By Solar Decathlon

If you’ve never thought of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon as a gourmet event, think again. Last night, 2013 teams rolled out their welcome mats for neighboring teams to host the second of two dinner parties of the Home Entertainment Contest.

During the Solar Decathlon competition, teams host two dinner parties, which are attended and judged by pairs of decathletes from three neighboring teams. Teams have two hours to prepare their dinner cuisine, which must be cooked and served in the team houses. These requirements prompt teams to focus on serving tasty meals that can be prepared quickly using little energy from the house.

Photo of a decathlete stirring a pan of food.

Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology prepares a meal in the team’s Solar Decathlon 2013 house for students from neighboring houses. (Credit: Eric Grigorian/U.S. Department of Energy)

So what did the teams prepare? The team dinner party menus (posted on each team page under “Team Deliverables”) include a variety of multi-course meals with main dishes such as beef roulades with mashed potatoes, pork chops with sauerkraut, and fresh pasta with seared shrimp, chard, pine nuts, lemon, and parmesan. Teams prepare different menus for each dinner party, and menus are often inspired by regional cuisine.

In addition to preparing food for their guests, team hosts plan ways to enhance party ambiance, encourage conversation among guests, help their fellow decathletes relax, and have fun. Dinner parties give teams a way to socialize with one another and share experiences over a meal.

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