“Approachable glamour” is a cornerstone of the Eating with Erica philosophy. Yet, upon my arrival at Team Building with Taste, located in an office park/food truck commissary kitchen off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, I knew we’d left glamour far behind, and I wasn’t even too sure about approachable. This spartan location doesn’t even give a whisper that you’re about to enter one Atlanta’s warmest, most fun evenings, and interactive kitchens.
Just barely five years old, Team Building with Taste has become a must-attend destination for the numerous companies that call Atlanta and Dallas home. Coca-Cola, Home Depot, American Airlines, and the Atlanta Falcons have all utilized the team building TBwT offers. Additionally, birthday parties, family reunions, and wedding rehearsal dinners have opted to hold events here, rather than sit and stare awkwardly at each other in a restaurant.
As the writer M.F.K Fisher once said, “There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.” Ideally, no matter our background, food is a unifying language and founders Paul McKeon and Jack Gerblick, along with Chef Susan Fornek, have created a space where their team building events do more than make your co-workers tolerable; they are in the business of creating families– because what else would you call people you’ve gone through the battle of cooking with?
While TBwT offers three different cooking experiences, including one that’s a play on Chopped (my own personal #lifegoals), on this particular evening, our group did “Cooking with Camaraderie,” an appetizer and tapas focused cooking experience. Participants are split into teams and each team is assigned one recipe and one professional chef to act as a combination Yoda/sous chef.
My team (Balls of Fury) was assigned a meatball dish with spicy arrabiata sauce, and Chef Jason Jewett of the Lowcomotion food truck was our guide to help us with the team challenge. The set up is simple: basic recipe (that you’re allowed to change), full pantry of ingredients, 45 minutes to create a perfect tasting plate and portions for yourself and other teams. There is a full professional set-up, and for anyone that shouts “Bam” in the privacy of their own home and explains their cooking process to the dog (just me?), being in the kitchen makes you feel like you can achieve anything.
Team-building happens organically, once the clock starts. People are forced to speak up for preferred roles or to delegate if they’re the only ones who know what the heck is going on. If, as I did, you have someone who claims to understand the science behind Italian tomato sauce, it’s up to you as to whether you let them play to their strengths, even if you don’t understand their process. Thus, we have team building in a nutshell. Team Building with Taste has created a business model that is almost profound with its simplicity and joy. And yet, you leave, as I did, knowing it was one of the most fun evenings you’ve had a in a while, but you also realize, you worked in harmony with two strangers, tapping into skills you generally hide under a bushel. Find a reason to get closer to friends, co-workers, or strangers, and book a package with Team Building with Taste as soon as you can.
By: Rachel Boyd