5 Ingredients for Improving Teamwork


Here at FoodInsight, we spend a lot of time talking about food, nutrition and health. So for our staff retreat, we thought it would be appropriate to actually prepare some food, while also learning more about working with each other. This fall, the FoodInsight team visited Culinaire, a recreational cooking school in the nation’s capital, for an afternoon of Indian cuisine. We learned all about how to prepare traditional Indian dishes, as well as what it means to work together. Here’s how cooking together taught us more than just recipes:

“With the fantastic efforts of my team, I learned we all have strengths (and weaknesses) and hidden talents.  Because we work together and know our styles, I feel we immediately clicked and stepped in when our strength could make a difference for the team (and our most delicious lunch)!”

  • Kimberly Reed, President, International Food Information Council Foundation

“It taught me to stay really focused. When I’m preparing a meal just for myself, it doesn’t seem very important whether I mess something up. But if I’m also cooking for my team, I really want my contribution to be top notch. My team members focused and made their contributions great, and I think (and hope!) my dessert held up to par!”

  • Liz Caselli Mechael, Director, Issues Management

“I learned that when you work together as a team, all striving toward the same goal, you will succeed!  We were fearless because we each knew that if we needed help, our team was there.  All this reflected in the finished product and we loved it!”

  • Geraldine McCann, Chief Operating Officer

“Preparing a meal together taught me more about working with my colleagues. We took inventory of our knowledge in cooking and talked about what we were more comfortable doing to contribute to the meal. We all chipped in in ways that complimented our strengths, but also challenged our weaknesses.”

  • Laura Kubitz, Manager, Media Communications

“I realized how important trust is to a successful team. Trusting that each member of your team contributes to the finished product by performing their task on time can be difficult. I can’t think of a better exercise than team cooking to test this. Cooking together was a great (and fun!) way to build camaraderie and trust within our team.”

  • Kris Sollid, Director, Nutrients Communication

All in all, the staff retreat opened up our eyes to a new way of cooking, using ingredients and methods we were unfamiliar with and, in general, working outside our comfort zone. But as a team, we tackled the challenge together and came out with a delicious meal! Try bringing team cooking to your family- it gives everyone the chance to learn about food, and each other.