Suzi's Blog

Eating on the Road: Cooking by the Book as Your Personalized Option

2011_07_06_IMG_0546

Don Draper in Mad Men is the prototype businessman with an expense account. Whether just off Madison Avenue or traveling to LA, Don dines well. Drinks well. And rarely sleeps alone. He is James Bond without a license to kill. Although, being in advertising, he might be said to be creating a license to steal.

I understand what advertising is. Do you have a clue what marketing is?

Sales, marketing and advertising though are key drivers of business travel around the globe. All those men, and women, traveling, entertaining, enticing …Did you ever wonder what the most popular dining spots are now, what these folks eat and drink? And why?

Well, if you got today’s New York Times, you know. Certify is a firm that provides software for expense account management. For their expansive set of clients the most-expensed restaurant was Starbucks. And then McDonalds. And then Subway. No, Ruth’s Chris is not on top. No, this is not some déjà vu from the commercials you see watching television, especially sports.

What is going on here? People are not being compelled into these fast food bastions. They are volunteering. Because these place are, well, fast. And they have wi-fi so you can eat and sip and type away on your laptop or troll through the fifty emails that have arrived since your last dopio macchiato.

There are dining options. Particularly for later in the day. The trend towards being a workaholic has generated a rash of firms that bring restaurant food to you. You can be in New York, the world’s greatest food city with all its diversity, go on the web to the newly formed Grubhub Seamless, and take your pick of dinners from around the world. You order and it comes to you. No Don Draper wood paneled restaurant for you. Since it is New York, dinner can come at 8PM or 8AM or anytime in between.

At Cooking by the Book, we do our part to get people more involved with their food. In fact, in our culinary team building programs, we put people to work and have them cook their own meal. If you are traveling with a group, or holding a meeting with twenty colleagues in the city, then Cooking by the Book is a dining option.

You come to our Tribeca loft and work/play with your group in the kitchen to craft a truly wonderful meal. The ingredients, equipment, and recipes are all here waiting for you. There is a staff of professional chefs standing by your side to guide you through the process: from cutting and chopping to tempering those eggs for the chocolate dessert that will make your day end perfectly.

Oh, we have big screen TV so you can show your PowerPoint thing while you eat. If you have to. And there’s wi-fi so everyone can steal a look at those emails. Or, or, you can take pictures of your friends and the food you created. You can capture fun digitally. And then look at that memory with fondness the next time you are having that second coffee in Starbucks.

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM, F/4.5, 1/60th second, ISO 2000

 

 

zv7qrnb

Creating Teamwork in the Kitchen

How are couples compatible? Sometimes it is because they are so similar, sometimes different, and sometimes they have just the right overlap.

Suzen creates excellent food. I eat it. Fundamentally, I’m a geek, a mathematician, who loves to visualize things. Suzen is a teacher and for her Cooking by the Book program here in New York City she sometimes needs help in explaining one of her teambuilding challenges. She just created a very interesting idea for a client who wanted to inspire his group. The whole group was divided into four teams, with each team cooking one recipe for their meal. But, the teams were going to be very dependent on each other.

Each team needed some ingredients, or prep work, from other teams and, in return, had to supply to the other teams. There was complete interdependency. Explaining these relationships to clients, who have come to have fun and not a lecture on dependency theory, was the challenge. I listened to Suzen and immediately realized what to do: depict the event as a network with the dependencies linking each team.

We’re going to apply this technique to future events here. In our kitchen, teams have 60-90 minutes to prepare a meeting. There is just enough time for folks to cook, but not a lot of time to negotiate. This chart makes it clear to everyone that in their hour+ in the kitchen, they have some swift communication to do.

While we do this for teambuilding, you can use it for a cooking party. To engage your guests, divide them into teams. You may want to arm everyone with a glass of wine. Then let them talk, cook, and of course eat.