TTG Great Cook Out

Staff of all ranks swop their sales kits and laptops for mortars and pestles for an afternoon of team bonding in a fancy cooking studio. Karen Yue joins her mates for some fun

Food Playground, a new cooking studio in a beautiful conserved shophouse that sits in Tanjong Pagar, hosted 14 staff members of TTG Publishing Travel Trade business group on March 25 this year.

Although launched in 3Q2012, Food Playground has hosted 20 corporate teambuilding events prior to the TTG Great Cook Out. The cooking studio’s managing director, Daniel Tan, expects to host another 25 to 30 corporate events between now and mid-2013.

The TTG Great Cook Out, which took place on a Monday afternoon, comprised two parts – a product marketing challenge and a cooking competition.

Tan said: “Our teambuilding programme is much more than the usual corporate cooking event. The kitchen represents a microcosm of the working world, with deadlines, decision-making and collaboration necessary to succeed, so we make it a point to incorporate fun team activities and challenges such as a product marketing contest to unleash creativity and improve communication and teamwork among participants.”

A mix of sales, marketing and editorial staff members was placed in two teams and tasked to create a tourism product that would appeal to visitors, using things such as raw broccoli, carrots and cherry tomatoes as well as coloured paper, toothpicks and paperclips. Teams must then make an enticing sales pitch to sell the product.

Explaining the choice of the activity, Tan said: “The contest has a tourism focus as it is a ‘product’ that every TTG team member is familiar with. This way, everyone can chip in regardless of their seniority and job title, so this activity is a great leveller!”

Part two of the programme saw the teams whipping up roti jala, curry chicken and ondeh-ondeh under the patient and animated guidance of culinary instructors Lena and Helen.

Explaining the choice of dishes for the cooking challenge, Tan said Food Playground’s specialisation in local, Asian-fusion, Thai and North Asian cuisines allowed participants, be they leisure tourists or business event delegates, to learn more about Singapore’s diverse food culture.

“We give our clients a lot of flexibility in deciding what they like to learn because they will enjoy the fruits of their labour at the end of the event. That said, we will recommend dishes based on participants’ dietary preferences, group size, duration of the programme and fun factor. Dishes on our menu are all tried and tested to be fun to make and tasty, yet challenging enough to keep everyone engaged,” Tan said.

According to Tan, teambuilding programmes are all customised to achieve clients’ desired results. Suggested activities will be pitched to the client and adjustments will be made to ensure suitability.

Tan noted that the menu and use of ingredients had to be tweaked for the TTG Great Cook Out, as several participants had food allergies and dietary restrictions.

As activities are held in a kitchen, Food Playground is committed to safety and has an accident-free record.

The winning team was eventually declared based on the uniqueness of the product sales pitch, and the taste and presentation of the cooked dishes. Victors were presented with a framed group photo as a keepsake.

In the days that followed, Food Playground provided all participants a link to an online photo gallery where memories of the day could be downloaded.

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