Cooking With Friends And Coworkers: Like!

Cooking With Friends And CoworkersIn late January, my company “made” me travel to Minneapolis for a meeting. Seriously. But I had fun. “At a work meeting?” you ask? Yes. Because Friday night, we cooked!

Team Cooking: A Crazy Good Time

Minneapolis boasts a small, locally-owned culinary shop: Cooks of Crocus Hill. I could live there. Colorful pots, gourmet food products, a wall of cookbooks — and a kitchen that sat calmly waiting for the ensuing mayhem that is my company. Two dozen of us made our way through the snow to channel our inner Julias. The staff greeted us with snacks. We chatted and enjoyed some beer and wine. And then we went to work — dividing into five teams, converging on the cooking space, and eyeballing ingredients, utensils, and preheated ovens — and recipes that were complex even for someone who cooks.

I was on team “Caesar Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing.” We plotted our course and divvied the prep work (11 ingredients in the dressing alone!). Bacon and fresh croutons to bake. Romaine to wash, tear, and spin twice. Chaotic at first, we worked our way into a clumsy but effective rhythm. At the same time, teams “Classic Italian Marinara,” “Homemade Pasta,” “Italian Meatballs,” and “Lemon Olive Oil Cake” made their own journeys.

Our chef and his team had their hands full teaching us to roll and cut fresh pasta, make meatballs and marinara, and whip up baby cakes topped with a reduced balsamic, thyme, and grape syrup. The atmosphere was frenetic (not kidding). And then — we were done. The folks at Cooks cleaned up after us and loaded our creations into lovely serving dishes.

Bella! An authentic Italian dinner — cooked by my company.

Post-Cooking Endorphins And Revelations

The food? Delicious. The best part? I gained a new perspective on the people I work with, all while having fun.

Rich and Lisa are mean mincers — garlic and shallots stand no chance. Jeff was kind enough to join team salad after we lost Hannah to the wonders of fresh pasta. Tom cooks with such concentration (4 pots simmering on the stove simultaneously he later revealed). And Andy plans to spend more time in the kitchen with his wife. I’m also really pleased that we supported a small, locally-owned business.

Though my company is dominated by males, most of whom (I assume) don’t do a lot of cooking, everyone appeared to enjoy this experience. Lots of laughing, fun pictures, and a post-event bar crawl left me with a great memory.

You Should Do This

Long story short, if you’re looking for an idea for a team-building event or party, what about cooking together? Google “culinary team building” combined with your geographical location to find potential venues. Or look for kitchen shops that offer private events.

Have you participated in an event like this? If so, did you like it? If not, do you think you’d enjoy it as much as I did? Or am I goofy… Or both?

Image Credit: Mary Gerush/Cooks of Crocus Hill

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