Happy National Guacamole Day, dear reader! Every September 16, fans near and far pay homage to the, arguably, greatest dip to grace our palettes: guacamole (no offense to hummus). The cool and creamy, sometimes spicy and always delicious, pale green dip is well-deserving of its own national holiday. It’s got everyone saying, “Yes we know guac is extra,” at Chipotle and is the subject of memes galore.
Consumers have lived through avocado shortages over the past few years, which, every time, cause a national outcry! It seems like everyone’s keeping their ear (tongue?) to the ground on avocado price trends. Even despite price hikes at restaurants and grocery stores, the people want their avocados!
Some restaurants have gone to great lengths to keep guacamole-lovers happy by any means necessary. That means experimenting with alternative options such as frozen avocado pulp and even “mockamole.” Recently, Chipotle customers were surprised to find less-than-ideal quality guac in their burrito bowls – a move made in response to high prices.
But after a summer of the highest avocado prices in recent years and as the harvest season revs up, avocado prices have come down a bit – just in time for National Guacamole Day. So how do we at Chewse celebrate the illustrious day?! With a friendly competition, of course!
The lowdown on the National Guacamole Day showdown
We gathered up the top chefs and home cooks alike in a guacamole challenge for the ages. Our showdown took place on a Thursday after work for Syssitia, a monthly gathering to hang out with coworkers to unwind.
We called upon our coworkers to form teams of two – five people, this was supposed to be a time for bonding after all! We encouraged teams to reach across the aisle, so to speak, and form groups representing our different departments. Finance folks worked with operations folks. We had account executives working with customer success. It was heart-warming to see people setting their differences aside to work together on the great unifier: guacamole.
Our contestants made up five teams ranging from duos to supergroups of five chef-testants. Each of our five teams had just about an hour to make their showstopping guacamole.
The rules were as follows:
- Each team had to assemble their guacamole on-site
- Teams were provided five avocados, as many limes as they wanted, salt, chips, and a selection of spices from our kitchen cabinets. (I know what you’re thinking – no, this was not an excuse to get rid of items in our pantry.)
- The teams were allowed to add anything extra to the guac, but they were required to provide it themselves!
- We also provided a few big preparation bowls, knives, and spoons, but any extra tools and utensils were to be provided by the teams. (Fun fact: we don’t have a full-fledged kitchen in our office
- Because it was our monthly Syssitia, the teams were welcome to bring any margarita accoutrements if they so desired. (Sure, maybe it gave some teams an unfair advantage, but in the end, aren’t we all winners?)
Each team came up with their own team name – we knew we had talented coworkers, but we were impressed with the team names they came up with (more on that later). For those who did not compete in the guac-off, they simply needed to bring their taste buds and their most discerning opinions.
Let the games begin
Finally, on the day of the event, the office was a buzz. Would the tasters prefer a chunky and mild dip or a smooth and tongue-scorching situation? Were the avocados going to be too under or over-ripe?! So much was at stake for a workplace-friendly event. This wasn’t any ordinary guacamole showdown – we pride ourselves on being food experts, gosh dang it!
Once the clock struck 5 PM, our chef-testants got to work assembling their guacamoles. The race began and the workday was officially over! Who was going to take the the guacamole – err, cake?!
Some cheftestants brought their own serving bowls. Others brought pre-chopped accompaniments to save some time. One team even brought a blow torch to roast peppers onsite (read: no fire alarms were set off)! Would these extra efforts win over the judges? Or was it all for show?
Our tasters (i.e. everyone who stuck around for the tasting) were instructed to judge our chef-tastants on four categories. The categories were: best team name, best presentation, just happy to be included, and best in show, i.e. overall taste, texture, and presentation. No one’s a loser when guacamole is involved – but there would absolutely be one winner to rule them all.
Before we all got to tasting, the cheftestants and tasters (about 40 of us in total) took a walk around the display table to get a sense of each team’s guacamoles. Next to each bowl of guacamole was a placard designed by the team with their team name and the ingredients added. (If you’ve ever had a Chewse meal, you know that we always go the extra mile to make sure you know what dietary restrictions each dish serves! Our guacamole showdown was no different.)
Once everyone got a feel for each green entry, we got to dipping! And of course, we eat like family, so forget the spoons! We all dipped our chips in the guac – but we just made sure not to double-dip. So whose dip reigned supreme? Read on to find out!
The teams and their National Guacamole Day-approved recipes
Before we dive in to the teams and their unique guacamole entries, a few housekeeping notes. The following guacamoles are listed in no particular order. Each guacamole was delectable – how could they be anything less than?! We don’t list the amount of each ingredient here, as some are secret recipes (ooh la la!). Who really measures guacamole ingredients anyway??
Finally, there was some mysterious (dare we say scandalous?) behavior on the day of our competition. There was an illness that brought down a member of one of the leading teams. We had foul play. There may have even been rigged results! Unfortunately, there were no detectives on the scene – the perfect setting for devious masterminding. Although we’ll never know the true culprits, we’ll always wonder whodunnit…
#Thicc Haas Guac
A millenial guacamole recipe to rule them all, #Thicc Haas Guac made serious use of the bottle of sriracha we get on the regular from our Amazon subscription. The team was a far-reaching set representing Customer Success, Restaurant Acquistion, and Sales Operations. This team could single-handedly make your meal program experience incomparable.
Quiet but powerful, this team’s guacamole was a simple yet satisfying taste of everything you want your guacamole to be. A little tangy, a little spicy, and the perfect balance between creamy and chunky. Their recipe is a crowd-pleasing guacamole – just like the goals of the teams they represent – your satisfaction guaranteed. But you know what they say about the quiet ones…
Their sure-to-be-your-Super-Bowl guacamole includes:
- White onion
- Roasted ~ingredients~
- Sriracha, for decoration
When asked about the inspiration behind their guacamole, the team had this to say:
Jennifer: “spice. fire. whatever was in arms reach.”
William: “gumption and pluck”
**Overheard quote, submitted by our judges:
“Damn, I hope this Sriracha works.” – Unsuspecting #Thicc Haas Guac cheftestant
Team GuacStars threw their hat in the ring just in the knick of time to participate in our National Guacamole Day showdown. This hometown band just trying to make it big thought this would be the perfect platform to showcase their ~range~. By day, they make guacamole and at night, they practice in their mom’s garage and perform to one dozen fans at local shows. Maybe you’ve heard their college radio hits such as “Guac This Way,” and, “Guac on the Wild Side.”
Truly, some of us fans were honored to be in their presence, while others simply thought the GuacStars fans were hipsters to even know them. This team was full of surprises – from their last minute entry, to a surprise ingredient. Their recipe included:
- Orange juice
- Red onion
- Cotija cheese
When asked about the inspiration behind their guacamole, one of the two cheftestants noted, “We were inspired by winning. We wanted to win.” This was their time to shine – but unfortunately, the last-minute candidates with the surprise ingredient were no match for the others. Could this have been motivation for the chaos that ensued…?
“Yes We Know Guac Is Extra”
Team “Yes We Know Guac Is Extra” was made up of five guacamole-savants from three different departments at Chewse. When asked about the inspiration behind their guacamole, they were quick to credit one another – a sign of true admiration for their teammates. They also mentioned that the “the overarching theme of [their] dish,” represented, “diversity and uniqueness.” Now if that’s not a notable quotable for our Careers page, we don’t know what is!
But that’s where the kumbaya ended. There was potential scandal afoot with this team, as the team name piqued our reporters’ (and our judges’) interest. Clearly, the team had some connection to Chipotle…were they funded by the fast-casual “Mexican food” giant, or merely fans? When our reporters asked the team about what they thought of Chipotle’s avocado scandal from just a few months ago, the team replied, “No comment.” Interesting, indeed.
The fishiness of their response was not enough to disqualify the team, however. And in fact, the team won two of the four titles: “Best Team Name” (even more interesting…), and “Just Happy To Be Included.” Malice? Perhaps. We may never know the truth…
The team’s globally-inspired guacamole recipe included:
- Fried pork rinds (Overheard by one of our reporters, “I don’t know, the pork rinds really added an extra touch.”)
- Thai chili
- Fish sauce (a perfect compliment to citrus, garlic, herbs, and pepper)
**Our editors want us to mention that the Great Guacamole Showdown was not funded by Chipotle.
Asado Al Fuego
Team Asado al Fuego translated means “fire roasted” – which was the inspiration behind this team’s spicy, pepper-forward guacamole. The team, a manager and direct-report duo from the Restaurant Acquisition team, were the first team to start and finish their guacamole. The leader-I.C. dynamic was easily replicated in the kitchen, as the duo’s magnetic teamwork drew a crowd. While their guacamole didn’t win any of the categories, their easily-replicable guacamole recipe should go in your back pocket as an easy-to-assemble dish sure to satisfy.
Their recipe included:
- Hot sauce
- Three different peppers: anaheim pepper, cherry pepper, jalapeno,
- Make-ahead pico de gallo: tomato, garlic, onions
- Salt and black pepper (the dynamic duo noted that the black pepper, “brings out the flavor and smokiness of the other peppers.”)
We had quite the scandalous evening at Chewse HQ, as Asado Al Fuego wasn’t the only team representing Restaurant Acquisitions. So would Asado Al Fuego’s loss affect the Restaurant Acquisition team dynamic? Read on to find out…
Kiss My Haas
Work appropriate? Maybe not, but this was a Chewse event, afterhours! Our judges didn’t seem to mind, either. Originally, this team was a powerhouse trio of three Restaurant Account Executives (i.e. the ones who bring you all kinds of tasty restaurants to each of our cities). Pitted against Asado Al Fuego, we heard from a number of anonymous tipsters, that team meetings in the week leading up to the event were fiery. When quotas are on the line, so too is everything else.
On the day of the National Guacamole Day competition, one of the Kiss My Haas team members was, mysteriously, out sick. Was it foul play? Clearly the primary suspects were Asado and al Fuego. Or was Asado al Fuego framed by one of the other teams who sensed the tension days before? Next time we have a competition, remind us to hire those detectives.
With so much curious behavior, Kiss My Haas were certainly perceived as the ones to beat. Even down one cheftestant, the two remaining players broke a sweat (literally)! Their guac featured blow-torched spicy peppers and a sour cream mixture folded methodically into a creamy, yet still chunky, avocado mash.
The duo put out all the stops, by pairing their elevated guacamole with a margarita shooter. In the end, and with everything against them, the team took home the top two prizes: “Best Presentation,” and “Best in Show.” Their perseverance in the face of adversity proved that even when you’ve got haters hatin’, the show must go on.
The team’s fancy guacamolé recipe included:
- Lime juice
- Sour cream
- Coriander (fun fact: coriander is the dried seed of cilantro)
- Roasted peppers
- Red onions
When asked about the inspiration behind their guacamole, here’s what the team had to say:
Michael: “I don’t know what to say, it just kind of came out of me like a Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.”
Stefano: “Well said, Michael(angelo).”
Michael: “…and I was inspired by Stefano’s graphical genius”
**Overheard quote, submitted by our judges:
“Everyone, everyone! He’s torching peppers y’all! This competition is over.” – innocent bystander.
Thanks to National Guacamole Day, community building can be really tasty
Even despite the fierce competition and potential misconduct, the Great Guacamole Showdown brought teams together from many different walks of life. Who wouldn’t want to stick around for free guacamole?!
Many of our judges thought the event was an inspiring showcase of the creativity of their co-workers – in a different way than they usually witness day-to-day. Others thought the event allowed professional chefs, home cooks, and passionate guac-tasters to participate in harmony. Compared to other team-bonding activities like trust falls and scavenger hunts, we have to agree!
Inspired to hold your own food showdown for your next Syssitia-style work event, or in place of your impromptu after work happy hour? Take a look at the complete list of national food holidays where you’ll find National Guacamole Day, or another one of our favorites, National Pasta Day! Get creative with a flyer and post it up in the office – better yet, ask a volunteer to make it to get your coworkers involved. No competition is complete without a scorecard. Click here to use ours!
In the end, when it comes to taste-testing guacamole – or any other food – we’re all winners! Holding a food-centered friendly competition is a great way to bring teams together. Read more tips and tricks to get teams together, here!