The Disco Salad In Vienna On May 17Mon 17 Jun 2013
Story by Marko Ertl
“I was always helping my mother more in the kitchen then you did!”- Disco Salad Vienna
It is somehow in the nature of kids to brag about how old or big they are but when do you hear them bragging about helping out in the kitchen? This is the story about how we got 150 kids to cut and prep 180 kg of fruits and vegetables and why they loved it.
On the 17th of May I woke up at 4:30 am and got picked up by Matthias to pick up Jochen (our camera man for the day) and drive to our location. After 30 minutes we arrived and unloaded the first batch of stuff. Matthias and Jochen drove off to get the rest of our inventory and all the fruits and vegetables, while I stayed to start to build up the venue. By the time Matthias and Jochen came back, many of our voluntary supporters had arrived to help us out and I had successfully fought off 2 complaints and 1 threat to call the police. That’s part of Vienna, some people hate when other people celebrate something, even when it is legal!
At 9 o’clock the first 50 kids arrived and we literally finished building up everything in the last seconds. The DJ turned up the volume and the party began.
Getting 150 Kids to Create Delicious Food for Guests
But before I continue our story, I want to explain how we managed to get 150 kids to create delicious food for all the other hungry guests.
1. We split the whole process into 4 stations (cutting/prepping, mixing and wrapping, smoothie station, distribution)
2. We created badges for every station, so the kids could show off their achievements (Master Cutter, Remixer, Brewer, Action Squad)
3. We had a goodie bag for every kid, as a reward for all the hard work
4. We had 18 voluntary superstars helping us making sure nobody got hurt
Of course it did not exactly work out as planned but our crew did a great job at being quick and flexible to adapt the system.
By 11:00 am the first journalists arrived and Matthias and I needed to give some interviews. We knew why we were doing this, and we told our story, explaining everything like “adults” usually do it. However, to really understand the true magic of what happened, you have to look at the kids and let them do the talking.
Every kid at the event had at least one quote about the Disco Salad, some favourite examples include:
• A: “I was always helping my mother more in the kitchen then you did!” B: “No, I was helping out in the kitchen even BEFORE you did”
• “I just distributed 6 Salads and 5 Smoothies and now I am getting a goodie bag? This is the best day of my life.”
• “Today, the business is not going so well, I had to return 2 salads because nobody wanted them.”
• “I definitely have found my dream profession. I want to become a chef!”
Throwing a Healthy Food Party!
We had anticipated that it would be a lot of fun for everyone but we could have never guessed how much fun the kids would have. Kids love to create stuff and they enjoy being treated like adults by having responsibilities. As a result, they REALLY loved cutting, prepping, mixing, sharing and eating fresh food. They wanted to earn all the badges and cut, mix, share as much food as possible. What was even better was that they were eager to taste every salad and smoothie and they really liked it all. There is no trick behind that. If kids prepare something themselves, they see it from a different perspective and give it a fair try, even if it is fennel.
Kids do not hate healthy food. They just hate the context. There is no need to point the finger and say: "eat healthy or else!” Instead, everybody should throw a party around healthy food, getting the kids to experience where food comes from and how meals are made in a disco way.
The event was planned to end at 3:00 pm but the kids were so fast that we were out of veggies and fruits at 2:30 pm. We gave away our last goodie bags and started to pack up everything.
I really want to thank all our AWESOME sponsors, who gave us everything from tissues to tents to ingredients, our 18 voluntary SUPERSTARS for joining us in the battle and sharing these moments with us, and of course all the kids who came and rocked the show.
About the author: Marko Ertl is a 24 years old Slovakian born and raised in Austria, who studied business with a focus on marketing and entrepreneurship. With his friend Matthias Kroisz he is Co-Founding Wrapstars, the first gourmet food truck in Vienna, so everybody can get real food everywhere.
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