Please fasten your safety belts, return your seatbacks to their full, upright position, and watch this brief Rules video about the Global Gourmet Games, presented by last year’s host, Mike "Hercule Poirot" Milken:
For those of you who have a slow internet connection or an inability to understand Monsieur Poirot’s accent, here's a quick primer. The evening consists of a series of competitions that test each table's gastronomic and oenological skills as well as their ability to answer diabolically difficult (and largely internet-search-proof) trivia questions. The contests include:
The Food Competition: Our focus has always been on how easy it is to prepare delicious meals in healthier ways, and so our food questions are often based on nutrition. For instance, we may ask you to rank your courses by fat or calorie content.
The Red and White Wine Competitions: Two players from each team taste a series of wines from around the world and answer questions about their countries of origin, composition and ratings.
The Trivia Quiz: Quiz topics can range from math and science to ancient philosophy to geography to pop culture. The one quality all of our quiz questions have in common: they're exceedingly difficult.
The Master Tasting Competition*: Each team captain will submit a mystery bottle of red wine. Choose carefully – your bottle will go head-to-head in a taste-test against other teams' entries. The 10 top-ranking bottles will then enter the final round where they'll be tasted by top sommeliers. The winning bottles will earn their tables special prizes and additional points.
Feeling intimidated by the challenge? Don't. The evening's designed to be fun and collegial, and most of the competitions are multiple choice. (If you're still worried, note that ringers – chefs, sommeliers and trivia buffs – are welcome. )
And – most important – it's all for a good cause.