02/04/2008 - 22:00

A recipe for teamwork

02/04/2008 - 22:00

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While there’s a seemingly endless range of corporate team-building activities to choose from, Bicton-based business woman Tracey Cotterell believes it all boils down to Matters of Taste.

A recipe for teamwork

While there’s a seemingly endless range of corporate team-building activities to choose from, Bicton-based business woman Tracey Cotterell believes it all boils down to Matters of Taste.

Ms Cotterell’s business, Matters of Taste, is a cooking school-cum-kitchenware store, where corporate teams work together to prepare a meal – both strengthening ties and unveiling team weaknesses.

The cooking school, which has operated for 10 years, has provided team-building classes for the corporate sector for the past two years, with recent clients including Chevron, Rio Tinto, Hatch, and BP Refinery.

Mrs Cotterell said participants learned about team building as well as cooking techniques in the three-and-a-half hour class for up to 14 people.

The classes often reflect how people are in real life, according to Mrs Cotterell.

“The classes are about how people are acting in the team, who is going to use the oven first and at what time, she said.

“It’s fascinating how most people don’t read the recipes to the end; they get started and get a little bit unsure halfway.

Some people discover that’s how they do that at work, they don’t plan through to the end either.” After the class, participants are asked to fill out an anonymous feedback form to be given to their team manager.

Mrs Cotterell said the classes were also a great ice breaker.

“Recently we had a team from a pharmaceutical company who took a class.

The people barely knew each other because they are on the road all the time,” she said.

Matters of Taste tries to find out as much as possible about the company and the type of team taking part before the class, according to Mrs Cotterell, who meets with the team manager beforehand.

Manager of the Kwinana BP refinery quality measurement team, Glenn Smith, who took his team to the corporate cooking class in October 2007, said the class had proved a useful experience for all involved.

“The core of people who went deal with each other everyday and we also invited colleagues that we interact with on a less regular basis,” Mr Smith said.

“It was very entertaining; we learned about cooking and different techniques and we also got to know each other and appreciate who people are and what they can do.” Mrs Cotterell recently appointed Carol Gaby to run the classes.

“Group exercise in the kitchen has a direct correlation with what happens in the boardroom afterwards.

It requires plenty of planning, communication and interaction – something that all companies can work on,” Mrs Gaby told WA Business News.

Mrs Gaby is the founder of two major Perth-based catering companies, Heyder and Shears and Zest Catering, and has a background in education.

“This group exercise has all the fun of cooking and learning to cook plus the added bonus of the reward at the end – sitting down to a delicious meal,” she said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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