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Culinary Workshops

Team Building Culinary Workshops

Cooking class

What is Team Building?
A team is a group of people working toward a common goal. Team building is the process of enabling that group of people to reach their goal. In its simplest terms, the stages involved in team building are:

  • To clarify the team goals
  • To identify those issues which inhibit the team from reaching its goals
  • To address those issues, remove the inhibitors and enable the goals to be achieved

The primary skills in this process are recognizing the right issues, and tackling them in an appropriate way and an appropriate order.

When Do You Need Team Building?
Team building is a useful exercise when you are confronted with one or more of the following managerial challenges or objectives.

  • Identifying your current team's strengths and weaknesses
  • Increasing team productivity and efficiency
  • Improving the way your team members interact
  • Improving team ability to solve problems
  • Improving morale
  • Improving managerial and leadership skills
  • Helping teams clearly define objectives and goals
  • Improving support and trust levels among employees
  • Developing healthy inter-group relations
  • Reducing unhealthy conflict
  • Reducing stress in your workplace

What Are the Advantages of Team Building Exercises?
Team building can improve motivation, cohesiveness and productivity in your group. In particular, team building can:

  • Tap into the hidden potential of your people
  • Find the barriers that thwart creativity
  • Achieve goal congruence
  • Improve processes, procedures and humanize control systems
  • Get your people to work TOGETHER
  • Get to the root problem holding back team development in your organization now
  • Improve organizational productivity
  • Improve job security

What is the Culinology Program's Approach to Team Building?
Our faculty have developed an effective team building exercise that involves team preparation of a four-course meal. During the preparation process, each team must meet the assigned objectives within the specified time frame even when confronted with a set on unfamiliar tasks that must be performed using limited resources. Individual teams must coordinate to share sparse kitchen resources. Participants work in teams of three or four to create the meal from the recipes supplied by the Culinology faculty.

Each team will have the same recipes and must complete all of their dishes within the given time frame. The following key organization skills and competencies will be stressed during the exercise.


Learning Objective Teaching Method
Organization and Planning Each group will work ahead of time to create a game plan and assignments for their team to follow while in the kitchen.
Cross Training Although the chef-facilitator will demonstrate any skill, he will do so only once for each team. This will force team members to cross-train each other. 
Coordinating Limited Resources Both equipment and food stuffs will be limited, so the teams must learn to communicate and share resources that are needed simultaneously. 
Problem Solving Since all groups must create their game plan in private, conflict will occur once the groups begin to work in the same kitchens. In order to continue to operate when the game plan hits a snag, the teams must problem-solve. 
Creativity Students will coordinate creative ideas to come up with plate presentations for their food.


How Are the Exercises Organized and Delivered?
A very tight schedule will be adhered to throughout the six-hour team building exercise. Stratford will create an environment of creative tension that will place the team members under time and resource constraints, but will give them the flexibility to be creative and have fun while they problem solve. The specific schedule is outlined below.

Time (hr) Team Building
Planned Activities
1.00 Participants will be given recipes and an outline of the exercise.
The chef-facilitator will divide the participants into groups and will explain the recipes and answer any questions.
It should be noted that the actual menu will be kept secret from participants until the day of the exercise.

0.25 The chef-facilitator will tour the groups around the kitchen.
The facilitator will answer any questions about the kitchen facilities.

0.50 The groups will divide up into separate rooms to plan their strategy for completing the exercise.
The chef-facilitator will travel group-to-group to answer any additional questions.
Groups will not be allowed to communicate with each other.

0.25 All groups don aprons and hats and regroup in the kitchen ready to compete.

2.50 The groups will work in the kitchen to prepare the menu according to the recipes.
All food must be completed and presented at the end of the 2 ½ hour time period.
The chef-facilitator will rotate and answer questions, but will demonstrate equipment and techniques only once.
Chef-facilitator will direct additional questions about something already covered to another team member for cross training.

1.00 The groups will sit at a table and enjoy the food they had just prepared.
During the meal the group will naturally discuss their successes and failures during the exercise.

0.50 All participants will assist the chef-facilitator in cleaning the kitchens.

6.00 Total Time for Team Building Session (hr)

What is the Menu and How is it Selected?
The final menu is selected when the event is planned. Menu items may affect overall cost. Menu complexity may vary depending on the specific team building objectives. Our chef instructors can accommodate specific dietary limitations, if known in advance. A typical menu is shown below.
Appetizer: Turkey Ravioli with Sage Butter
Salad: Mesclun Salad with Toasted Almonds, Goat Cheese, and Maple Vinaigrette
Entrée: Seared Salmon Fillet with choice of Mango Salsa or Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, Ratatouille, Steamed Asparagus, Risotto Cakes
Dessert: Fresh Fruit in a Tuile Cup with Pastry Cream and Raspberry Coulis

What is the Cost and When are the Workshops Conducted?
As with most custom workshops, the price depends upon the number of participants and the specific menu items. The cost is normally between $125 and $175 per person. Workshops can be conducted weekdays (except Friday) from Noon to 6 PM. Weekend times of delivery are flexible. Payment is required 30 days prior to any team building exercise.

How Can a Workshop Be Scheduled?
Contact SMSU Culinology Program via email ( or phone (507-537-6436).

Last Modified: 2/17/17 5:17 PM | Website Feedback