What is team cohesion? It is defined as the degree to which individual team members want to voluntarily contribute to the team’s ability to continue functioning as a work unit. The more cohesive a team is, the more it encourages peak performances amongst its members. Seems like a win-win situation for both the team members and the team as a whole. Cohesiveness can develop over time naturally, or expedited through team building activities. At CulinaryOn, during our cooking classes, team cohesiveness can be developed through cooking together. Here, we present 5 dishes that can significantly improve team cohesiveness when team members prepare them together.
1) Spaghetti With Ruccola & Shrimps
Pasta tastes the best when you make it from scratch. When team members learn to mix the flour, olive oil and eggs together to form the dough, it is often a messy affair. The dough will get all sticky and shaggy and no one will believe that this is the start of a delicious dish. Once the dough is formed, teamwork is required to put the dough through the pasta rolling machine. It can get tricky for non-cooks to master the machine. Team members need to devise their own techniques to roll out the perfect pasta. For example, the tallest team member needs to be the one who feeds the dough in and a more meticulous member can be in charge of sprinkling the flour on the dough. At this time, the dough is quite fragile and needs to be handled with extreme tender, loving care. Working together, this creates certain unspoken bonds among the team members when they try to manoeuvre the dough through the pasta rolling machine.
2) Wellington Beef Steak
This technical dish requires precision planning. Each step has to be done correctly before going on to the next step. Grilling of the steaks only require 2 to 3 minutes on each side, somebody needs to be stationed on the grills to monitor the steaks. The puff pastry and the toast bread need to be cut to exact measurements so that the beef can be wrapped up perfectly. This dish is a great example that when a task done together is executed correctly at each stage, with the right method, sequence and timing, the end results will be an absolutely lovely dish that every team member can savour collectively.
Making gelato involves a lot of whisking. Take turns with your team members to whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Everyone’s arms will get sore and tired with the whisking so by taking turns, everyone gets to rest in between. This is a team effort because if someone does not whisk as hard as the other team members, other members need to compensate and whisk harder on their behalf. Team cohesion occurs when members want to whisk as hard as the next person; team members bring out the hidden potential in each other unknowingly. At the end of the session, yummy gelato is the reward for the team’s hard work.
4) Chili Crab With Mantou
A lot of different spices and ingredients go into making the spicy sauce for this dish. As with the Beef Wellington above, this dish requires skills. The sauce needs to be seasoned just right, the soft shell crabs and mantou are required to be deep fried for the exact amount of time at the correct temperature to get them to be crispy, but not greasy. When working on this dish, team members will learn how to cooperate with each other to create this uniquely Singaporean fare. Often times, because of collaboration, the outcome will be beyond their expectations, like this dish!
5) Hokkaido Mille Crepe Cake
This yummilicious cake consists of alternating layers of thin crepes and whipped cream. When making the crepes in the pan, it is important to make them the exact same size and thickness, so that the cake has a uniformed look. Team members will need to try to do the exact same thing as everyone else and this trains their ability to adhere to a certain standard and quality, much like in an organisation, where standardisation is very important.
As you can see, team cohesion can be easily increased by letting your members work together on a few creative dishes. A team building activity at CulinaryOn will surely beat any other team building activity out there!