Split Chef by Brendan, Bryan, Dion and Joel
Introducing the experiment:
SPLIT CHEF is what the name suggests, a chef that has been split into two. It is a game consisting of two players, titled ‘Instructor’ and ‘Executor’ in this post, who will work together to prepare a dish. There is, however, a twist. Both players will not be allowed in the same room, and will only be connected via a third space screen where the Instructor will instruct the executor only through drawings within limited time, and the executor may only execute based on his/her interpretations of the drawings.
This is the basic rundown of how it works:
- Facilitator gives Instructor the recipe/instructions on a step-by-step basis
- Instructor has to draw the ingredient/instruction within limited time, where the drawing will be screened through a dual Instagram Live to the executor
- The executor will interpret the drawing, and purchase the instructed ingredient/execute the cooking instruction
- The meal, based on what had been interpreted by the executor, is served
THE TRIAL RUN: 28 MARCH 18
On the 28th of March, Thursday, was the very first trial run of Split Chef. Through the run, we realised that we were very unprepared in many ways, and that there were many unforeseen circumstances occurring that will have to be discussed.
From here, I will discuss what went down in Part 1: Grocery Phase, Part 2: Cooking Phase as well as an overall analysis of the run.
These were the roles:
Bryan as the Instructor, myself as the Facilitator for the Instructor, Joel as the Executor, Brendan as the Facilitator for the Executor
PART 1: GROCERY PHASE
Since the players were not allowed to know the recipe beforehand, Brendan and I had to decide on it ourselves, where we settled on a basic Chicken Quesadilla. We figured that it was a pretty easy recipe, given that all that was required was chopping of ingredients, marinating the chicken bits, one cooking method of frying everything together and placing them in tortilla wraps. The only thing that we thought was going to be challenging was how the Instructor was supposed to draw things like “BBQ sauce” without being able to write any words within the drawing.
However, the recipe turned out to be more challenging to execute than expected.
On top of the recipe’s ingredients, we also decided to throw in some random ingredients that were not part of the actual recipe, so as to throw off the executor, preventing him from instinctively guessing what the dish was going to be based on the ingredients he was getting.
- 1 Tomato
- 1 Onion
- 2 Bananas (RANDOM)
- Shiitake Mushroom
- Chicken Fillet
- Shell Macaroni (RANDOM)
- BBQ Sauce
- Tortilla wrap
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 Lime (RANDOM)
As expected, our Executor was indeed confused by the mix of random ingredients, and had also purchased 3 wrong ingredients (of which 2 were used). BBQ sauce became Tobasco sauce, shell macaroni became dumplings and chicken fillets became a WHOLE CHICKEN… Note Joel’s face of confusion/surprise.
Here are some pointers that I’ve noted based on our run, along with potential ideas and rectifications for the game:
- The original set timing for drawing the ingredient was 10s, which we cut down to 7s as it felt like too much time
- There needs to be a set time limit of how long the executor has to pick out his/her ingredient, as at certain points, the game felt draggy when Joel was taking a relatively long time to settle on an ingredient
- Whether or not the Instructor is someone with an artistic/creative mind makes a difference, since an artist of sort may be able to come up with better ways to quickly draw the instruction
- For example, for ‘Shiitake Mushrooms’, Bryan had drawn the shape of a literal ‘shit’ along with a mushroom which allowed for better interpretation by Joel
(A picture of the drawing will be inserted next week)
- Whether the Instructor and the executor know each other well also makes a difference, because the executor might be able to better interpret the drawings if he/she knows how the other person thinks
- We could potentially have an audience on the livestream to help the executor figure out what the ingredient is, if he/she is genuinely lost
- We could also potentially have lifelines/ hints
PART 2: COOKING PHASE
A break was taken on the stream while Brendan and Joel made their way to Hall 2’s Kitchenette.
On the other side, our friend Zhen Qi (ZQ) had taken over Bryan’s position as Instructor as Bryan had to leave. (Note that this will not happen in the actual run)
At this point, the connection and quality of the dual live stream became extremely poor due to the poor reception at the kitchenette. The game had to be paused several times due to the loss of connection. Perhaps it would be better if we conducted the second phase at someone’s home kitchen instead to ensure a good quality outcome, despite the longer travel time from the supermarket to the house.
*Note the poor quality on the Executor’s side
- Slice 3 chicken fillets into bite-sized pieces
- Add 3tbs of BBQ sauce to the chicken
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the chicken
- Marinate the chicken for 20 secs and leave it there
- Dice the onio
- Slice the shiitake mushroom
- Slice the tomato
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil on a pan on the stove
- Fry the onion until golden brown
- Add in the shiitake mushrooms
- Sauté the chicken over medium-high heat until done, about 4 mins per side
- Transfer the chicken onto another bowl/plate
- Turn the heat to low
- VERY LIGHTLY oil the frying pan (Supposed to be butter, but we don’t have butter)
- Place 1 tortilla wrap on the pan
- Add a handful of shredded cheese onto the wrap
- Add the chicken+onion mix
- Add the sliced tomatoes
- Add another handful of shredded cheese
- Place another tortilla wrap on top
- Let it sit for a minute then flip the whole quesadilla around
- Fry until the bottom is golden then remove the quesadilla from the pan and put it on a plate
- We were unprepared with the cooking equipment needed
- Missing a usable frying pan, a chopping board and more bowls to separate the ingredients
- The induction cooker could not detect the big frying pan, which was a problem as the tortilla could not be properly made in the small pot
- We did not take into consideration the time needed to defrost certain ingredients
- e.g. Joel had bought an entire small chicken instead of chicken fillet, which took a very long time to defrost despite there being a microwave
- The drawing time limit was cut down from 30s to 20s
- Should the Executor be given a time limit as to how long he can take to execute a certain step before moving on to the next step? (e.g. giving him a maximum of 30s to finish dicing the onions)
- While the Executor is doing the instructions, what should the Instructor be doing?
- Just sitting there and watching the executor? Does the Instructor have to be silent so as to not give away any additional instructions, or is casual conversation allowed
- There needs to be some sort of continuous sound/movement on the Instructor’s side so as to keep our presence known (i.e. no loss of connection)
- Whether or not the Executor is someone with cooking experience makes a difference.
- What happens if the Executor misinterprets an instruction?
- If possibly, the Instructor may help to rectify the situation in the next drawing, where the rectification will have to be drawn ON TOP of the next step
- The Executor should be allowed to request for the Instructor to skip to the next step in certain instances
- Perhaps the Instructor should be informed of the equipment available in the executor’s kitchen
- In the actual run involving public players, there should be 2 facilitators per group
- Instructor’s side: 1 to film the process, another to handover the recipe’s steps and time the Instructor
- Executor’s side: 1 to hold the phone for the third space stream, another to film the process
- Connection is a big problem, as discussed earlier
- There needs to be a proper set of sheet or cards for the Instructor to draw on, to prevent messiness/ confusion
*Random boxes being drawn all over to separate drawings
- For each step, should the Instructor be allowed to add on to the previous drawing, or must he/she start a whole new drawing?
*Here, ZQ had drawn a mushroom and pointed it to the previous step, which I then told her to do a whole new drawing
- Prepare a tripod for the Instructor, as the moving camera may serve as a distraction for the Executor
- Base ingredients should be provided such as oil, salt, pepper, butter, etc.
Although almost entirely different from what the dish is supposed to be like, the final outcomewas thankfully, still edible. However, a lot of it was based off Joel’s natural cooking instincts, if not the final dish would have probably been poison to the stomach…