Team-Building: Kitchen Edition

Another fun and successful quarter is in the [digital] books at Oceanhouse Media, which meant we got to celebrate together at our quarterly team outing! Last quarter, we celebrated by volunteering at Feeding America San Diego, and this quarter we were very lucky to feed ourselves at a completely out-the-box experience: a group cooking class at The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle.

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The majority of us had no idea where we were going or what we were doing when we showed up to the office before the outing. Last time the team outing was a secret, we ended up at a high-ropes course, so those of us who are scared of heights were happy to hear that we would be spending the afternoon in a sunny garden rather than suspended 50 feet above the ground!

The Boys & Girls Clubs’ Center for a Healthy Lifestyle is an adorable, sunny yellow cottage nestled in Solana Beach, California. The center is dedicated to “inspiring children & adults to live healthier lives through cooking, gardening and fitness”. Complete with a beautiful kitchen space, communal organic garden, and peaceful patio, the center was the perfect place to spend a sunny morning in Southern California!

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We were very lucky to have Amanda Mascia of The Good Food Factory, an Emmy-award-winning healthy cooking show for kids, as our joyful and energetic teacher. She curated a menu to coincide with our 5 core values:

-Creative problem solving: brown rice (she taught us the perfect way to bake it)
-Efficient excellence: carrots & thyme
-Always learning: blueberry vinaigrette for our salad
-5 stars or no stars: salmon
-Passion for the work: whipped cream and berries

Yum!

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The first item on our to-do list was to peel a giant box of carrots (not as giant as the box at Feeding America San Diego!), so we all grabbed a peeler and got to work. With all of us chipping in, we were able to peel and chop the entire box in just a few minutes! Amanda had all the recipes we needed printed out so she instructed us just to start cooking and let her know if we had any questions. We all loved that she let us take initiative and figure things out on our own. We were able to modify some recipes to fit certain team members’ dietary restrictions, create our own perfect marinade for the salmon, and pick anything we wanted from the garden to add to our fresh salad! We self-organized into groups to make various items such as the salad dressing, salmon, croutons, whipped cream, etc. It all tasted absolutely delicious! So often in today’s world, meals are rushed and “convenient”, so it was relaxing to slow down and really savor the process of cooking, especially with a group of people. Working together outside of the office was so much fun and really helped us to get to know each other better.

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As we ate our lunch on the beautiful patio and took in the gorgeous day, we discussed how the experience relates to our company culture. One aspect we really value at Oceanhouse Media is getting the chance to take initiative on projects, just as Amanda let us do with the recipes. Team members are always taking the lead on new ideas or processes, applying forward-thinking knowledge (always learning), and trusting of one another to try something new- even if it fails. When one team member told the group how much he learned about gardening after one season of an unsuccessful garden, we discussed how important failure is in the learning process (FAIL = first attempt ilearning), and how if you are not failing, you are not taking enough risks. Finally, the carrot peeling resonated with us because of how quickly we were able to power through a huge task when we all pitched in and helped. The exercise was demonstrative of how much more efficient we are as a group. Now when an individual employee has a big project to tackle, we all pick up our theoretical carrot peeler and help out!

“Building software is like making whipped cream. Things get mixed up for quite some time and then voila!, something magical appears.” – Greg U.

“Seeing our team in the context of a kitchen made it clear to me that the sweetest things come from working in tandem with one another.” – Chandler

“Our morning with Amanda at The Good Food Factory was really fun and educational. It was so nice to take time as a team to make a healthy and delicious meal together in a beautiful setting where we could grab anything we needed for the meal right from the garden. Working together made the job easy and we all brought great, tasty ideas to the table that resulted in a a fresh and delicious lunch!” – John C.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle and Amanda for making our team outing a wonderful experience!

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