I’m Joyce Ngo – public relations enthusiast, student, and currently TeamBonding marketing intern. This summer as part of my internship I will be focusing on social media and bringing the experience of the events and programs we do to the mass public from my perspective. You’ll get a behind the scenes view of what happens before the event and the preparation that goes into it. I’ll be posting blog posts about my observations and experience at each event. Basically, you’ll get to see what Joyce the Intern sees, no fluff. This time I went to a Team Cuisine event.
Raise your hand if you can cook. A good number of hands go up.
Now keep your hand raised if you can cook without a recipe. Suddenly most hands go down.
Let me start off by admitting and fully acknowledging that I cannot cook. I can bake just fine, anything from french macarons to cupcakes or cookies, but I cannot cook. I’ve only just started using a pressure cooker I have at home, but even then I depend solely on the recipes I find online and follow the instructions to a T — by no means am I a master chef.
The program Team Cuisine is exactly the opposite of that. Teams create a gourmet, multicourse meal with no recipes, no kitchen and no training. The idea here is to combine ingredients, dishes and styles of food from around the world into one mouthwatering menu, to represent the diverse cultures, ethnic backgrounds and tastes of the group. It’s focused on the group’s experiences first and then they match the food to the specific event.
They’re provided a basic setup with a portable cooktop and the essential kitchen tools like knives, disposable cutting boards and spatulas. Then they get the ingredients for their dishes, each team has a different dish to contribute to the multicourse meal at the end of the challenge. Each team gets an envelope with the dish they are going to be attempting to create (it’s a surprise to everyone), but it does not include a recipe – contrary to what many (many) people thought when they got the envelope.
Funny actually because a lot of them admitted to never cooking at home often or even at all and were terrified at the prospect of having to cook now. One woman said that this would be the most cooking she’d done in the last six months combined. And then she proceeded to chop shallots and garlic so professionally and finely that it looked like they came from a food processor.
Personally I was very excited for this event, both because I wanted to see it actually come through and work, but also I was ready to see it crash and fail too. Either way
worked for me, but it really was amazing how everything came together at the end. Turns out, two of the men had real cooking experience, funny how they were both on the same team too. One was a chef in restaurants for a while and the other had a wife that went to culinary school and apparently taught him some tricks in the kitchen. Everyone was actually really surprised because they hadn’t known that about them, which is one of the main points of this program, or any TeamBonding program – getting to know your team members.
There was laughter and conversation about the dishes and the prep work (like peeling and deveining shrimp). One member was allergic to one of the ingredients in the appetizer so his team made him some without it on a special plate just for him. There were bonding moments when no one knew what to do, funny stories shared about either cooking successes or even better cooking fails, and a genuine interest in conversing and getting to know each other.
It was a small group so I assumed everyone knew each other, but it turns out they actually had quite a few newer, lesser known members and this was a chance to really get everyone together. Everything came together in the end and they finished the night with a five course meal and drinks on the balcony with an amazing view. At the end of the night each person knew more about their co-worker; their likes, dislikes, food allergies, secret cooking talents and probably a lot more I didn’t catch.