Food trucks, international food, ice cream, pizza, and chocolate! These are just some of the exciting cooking experiences your team could take part in when working with Recipe for Success. Recipe for Success it a team building company that provides employers with a tasty way to teach their employees about communication and working together. With their numerous events and flexibility, you are certainly able to find something that will fit any need.
Recipe for Success is a team building company. So, you can rest assured that important soft skills will be discussed and improved while participants engage in any of their creative events. Team Cuisine, Recipe for Success’ flagship program, brings participants into a room set up with all the equipment and ingredients they will need. Your group is then broken into teams and handed an envelope which they believe contains a recipe. Instead, the card is actually just a short description of the meal they will be cooking. This uncertainty is where the team building skills come in. Each team has to work together to cook the item based on the description.
Location-wise, Recipe for Success does team events across America. For example, the company does team building activities in Chicago, NYC and Seattle – to name a few. This range of locations means that you should be able to work with Recipe for Success wherever you are.
Recipe for Success Highlights
Recipe for Success has some great highlights that shows how unique they are. Their dedication to helping companies build strong bonds among co-workers is what sets them apart from other food based activities.
- Recipe for Success was created with team building in mind. Everything from start to finish touches on improving those skills and bonding employees.
- Recipe for Success events are customizable. They operate via modules so they can make an event longer or shorter and with small or large groups. Events have been held for 12 – 800 people. Events are typically 3 hours long from start to finish.
- Facilitators are all professionally trained chefs. No need to worry about the food not turning out great!
- Programs for every food group! You may have heard of other cooking classes but Recipe for Success includes all food groups. From international cuisine to ice cream making, they love food and cover a wide range of options.
- It is not just cooking. Not everyone likes to cook, but they can still be part of the process. A number of their programs require you to create an ad, marketing plan, packaging and sometimes a food truck!
- Events are mobile. Equipment and ingredients come to you, whether that is a hotel ballroom or your conference room. Recipes can also be altered to exclude ovens when necessary.
- Dietary restrictions can be accommodated. This includes basic allergies, vegetarian and vegan.
- There is a minimum set price that increases after a certain number of people. Ingredients are also not included.
- Following the cooking, debrief with the Recipe for Success staff to review why the food looks and tastes so great.
Variety of Events Offered at Recipe for Success
One of the highlights for Recipe for Success is the numerous programs they offer. All of which focus on team building skills. Not sure which one you would like to do? Try one out and revisit Recipe for Success for another activity! They have a number of clients that work with Recipe for Success on a monthly basis to host events.
Below is a list of some of Recipe for Success’ team building programs. Note, this is not even half of the programs offered. There are options covering everything from breakfast to chocolate making and mixology. They are even willing to work with you to create your own custom event. However, just for starters why don’t you give one of these a shot.
- Team Cuisine – Their flagship program and most popular. Break off into teams and create an amazing meal without any recipes. Then come together with your meals and enjoy a buffet style dinner.
- Ice Cream Making Challenge – Ever wanted to work for Ben & Jerry’s? Use liquid nitrogen to create new ice cream flavors! You are provided with tons of ingredients to create something amazing! Design the packaging and a commercial for your new flavor. Avocado rosemary ice cream anyone?
- Food Truck Challenge – Recipe for Success’ newest challenge, break off into teams and coordinate a meal to serve in a food truck. A food truck built out of cardboard which you design and construct of course! Compete to see who can whip up the best food truck themed food.
- Cooking for a Cause – Cook a great meal with your coworkers and donate the food to a charity for the homeless or those in need. This event is a great opportunity to work on team building while also helping your community.
- The Ultimate Pizza Challenge – Create two pizza’s and one dessert or salad pizza. Then everyone comes together to share and try out each others creations for one big pizza party.
- The Great Appetizer Challenge – Looking for something a little bit more like cocktail hour? Try the great appetizer challenge where each team is tasked with creating a different appetizer. At the end everyone comes together to try out other teams creations with some drinks of course!
Interview with Richard Cooper, Founder of Recipe for Success
Richard Cooper, the founder or Recipe for Success, and I talk about why he started Recipe for Success, the programs offered, and why they have been so successful. Hear us discuss some of the programs they offer and what makes them so unique.
Kristen: Hi, this is Kristen with Team Building Hero. I am here with Richard Cooper the Director of Culinary Programs for Recipe for Success. Thank you so much for joining me Richard!Richard: Sure, it is a pleasure.
Kristen: Just to get started, I was wondering if you could tell us how Recipe for Success began.
Richard: Well it is a little bit of an interesting story. Before starting Recipe for Success I was in the corporate world for 20 years. Cooking was always my passion outside of work. Luckily I was able to travel a lot. I was able to take cooking classes pretty much all over the world to hone in on my skills. When I sold my company I thought I might retire. I was a little bit young for that, got restless. So I thought if I could do something else, let me see if I can do something food related that did not take me to a restaurant work. So I came up with the Recipe for Success concept.
Kristen: That is so awesome. So you took cooking classes all over the world? What are some of the places you took cooking classes?
Richard: All through Europe, lots in Mexico and Latin America.
Kristen: Do you have special programs that focus on the recipes you learned while traveling abroad?
Richard: We do, we have different menus that we can present to our client based upon what kind of menu they want to see presented. We have got a number of different menus and a number of different activities.
Kristen: Nice! So our focus is team building, what kind of team building corporate events do you offer?
Richard: Right, so all of our events are team building events.
Richard: They all surround the culinary arts. We use cooking as a metaphor for working effectively together.
Kristen: Ok, so you talk about working together things, like communications and ingredients coming together to make something great?
Richard: Well, communication is really the key in terms of what we focus on. My corporate experience tells me that communication is really key whenever you’ve got more than 3 people trying to achieve the same goal or trying to solve a problem. What I have come up with is good communication and teamwork is nothing more than solving a problem using a high level of communication skills.
Kristen: So communication is a frequent topic during your events?
Richard: It is, what I try to do is get the participants to try to understand, what does communication have to do with cooking? So I try to ask them some key questions if they have ever gone to a restaurant with a big group, lets say 10 ppl, and wondered how are they getting all those appetizers to come out at the same time. How are they getting all of those salads to come out at the same time? All of the main dishes, which contain many different items on it, to all come out hot and fresh. It comes down to the fact that in the kitchen they are communicating when each component of that meal is ready to be plated. It all has to come out fresh and that is the basis of how we relate it back to cooking.
Kristen: That is so interesting. You always have that time when you are at the restaurant and it is taking forever. Then you wonder, ‘who ordered what and why is it taking so long?’
Richard: Exactly, in addition I go a little bit further and talk about sports. In baseball you have the pitcher and the catcher signaling what the next pitch is going to be. If the catcher doesn’t know what pitch to expect and he gets a curveball it is going to be chaos. He is not going to know how to handle that pitch. In football for instance the coaches on the sidelines are signaling into the quarterback who is communicating it into the team. Again, if they didn’t know what plays they are going to run, it would be chaotic. Good teamwork is basically about good communication.
Kristen: It really is a vital skill that companies need to remember to teach their employees and not just the technical skills.
Kristen: Can you tell me more about the different cooking programs you offer?
Richard: Sure, our flagship program is called Team Cuisine. Team Cuisine is typically depending upon the size of the group. We work with 12 people up to 500 people. Depending upon the size of the group we do a multicourse international menu. What is interesting about that is the participant’s cook these dishes without a recipe. That is one of the challenges that comes in terms of getting them to communicate. They have to figure out how to do it as a team. All of our facilitators are professional trained chefs. They have all gone to culinary school. They are there to make sure the food does not only come out good, but great. The food actually does come out great. People are always amazed at how good they were able to get that food to come out both looking good and tasting good. At our debrief we contend that the only reason they were able to do such a good job is because they did it as a team and they communicated effectively as a team. We also make it like a competition. We judge them in 4 different areas. The teams also have to come up with a team name and a team sound, like a chant or a song. Something that depicts their experience during the event. Then while we are kind of eating dessert each team has the opportunity to get up in front of the entire group and do their little song and dance.
Kristen: That is fun. You said you don’t give them a recipe. How do they know how to make whatever you are instructing them to make?
Richard: It is fun, when they first walk in we have cooking stations already set up with the ingredients and equipment that each team will need to do 1 or 2 dishes. Every team does a different dish. Then we give everyone sealed envelopes and they all think there are recipes in there but in fact it is just a descriptive name of the dish they have to make.
Kristen: Well interesting.
Richard: Then at the end we put everything on a big buffet and we do a little bit of teamwork behind that just to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of this communication thing.
Kristen: So does everyone make the same dish or is kind of as you said a buffet collaboration? You make a whole meal for the whole group?
Richard: Yea each team makes a different dish and then we put it on a buffet for a whole group.
Kristen: O wow, is the team cuisine the most popular event that you offer?
Richard: It is.
Kristen: Ok, are there any situations or any ways you can accommodate people with dietary restrictions?
Richard: All of our menus are built so we can accommodate people with the most popular allergies, vegetarians and vegans. We can’t really accommodate kosher people. Most of our events are done at hotels. So the hotel can typically provide a kosher meal.
Kristen: I noticed by looking on your website you do offer a lot of buffet dinner style events, do you offer dessert? I see you have a chocolate team building program.
Richard: Yes, we do all desserts which is a great event because people love dessert. Each team will make a different dessert. We have an appetizer event in case some clients want to do cocktail parties. So we have each team making a different appetizer. One of the most popular is a charity event where we prepare food and give it to a local food bank or homeless shelter in trading areas or the local community. We get our representative from that charity to come to the event to give a talk on hunger in the community. It provides an opportunity our client a chance to give back to their local community and it is very popular.
Kristen: That is fantastic. When people come in to do the event do they come into a restaurant or can they do it at a hotel if they are having a convention? Or in their office? Where can they have an event hosted?
Richard: They can do it pretty much anywhere, we go to them. I would suggest that 75% of the events that we do are done at hotel ballrooms and add-ons to offsite meetings. We do lots in corporate environments and conference rooms, things like that. Some of our menus we don’t need ovens for, so we can accommodate that corporate environment where there may or may not be an oven to use. We bring in our own portable burners, we bring everything. So it is kind of a one stop shop.
Kristen: That is awesome how easily accessible it is for people to have an event anywhere.
Richard: Yea, that is one of the keys to how much success we have had. We are very customer centric. We try to satisfy the customers needs rather than having the customer satisfy our needs.
Kristen: Thats great, thats so awesome. What is the minimum amount of people that you can have at an event? I know you said 12 to 500, but say a company only has 5 people. Can you host them?
Richard: We can do it, it gets a little pricy for 5 people but yea we will do it. We have done that kind of thing for good clients. We have got a lot of repeat business. We have some clients that we do events for on a monthly basis for leadership training. So if they have a small group that they want to do something for, we will accommodate them.
Kristen: So do they come back and do all your programs? Get a little dinner or chocolate every other month?
Richard: They do, every month actually!
Kristen: O wow, thats awesome. You said you accommodate small groups but what about the max? You mentioned 500, that is a pretty big group to accommodate.
Richard: We’ve actually done 800. That is the max that we’ve done. When we got the 500 person event I had to figure out how I was going to do that and in doing so I came up with a formula so that I can prob do as many people as they can throw at me at this point.
Kristen: That awesome, so I assume for larger events it may take longer. How long is the average event or does it depend on which program people are wanting to do?
Richard: We try to keep it around 3 hours. With a longer event with bigger groups sometimes it can take longer than the small groups, which can be a bit shorter.
Kristen: Does that 3 hours just include cooking? Or does it include cooking, eating and everything?
Richard: Start to end.
Kristen: Start to end, ok. What is the price range for one of these corporate events? Is there a flat rate or is it per head or after a certain amount of people it starts to go up?
Richard: Yea, we have a minimum and after that it is on a per person basis.
Richard: Let’s go back to the timing for just a second. The timing is interesting because the way I build all of the programs is I build them in modules. So if a client comes to me and says, ‘I know you said it is going to take 3 hours but I only have 2 hours time line for you.’ I can subtract modules for each event. I can customize the event to fit the client’s agenda. Again, it is that customer centric thing.
Kristen: So can people make recommendations for what they want to cook or is there a laid out recipe?
Richard: Well I am always willing to listen to recommendations and if I can do it certainly I will. But one of the things that people really don’t understand is what goes into building a program or specifically a menu. If we got, say 7 courses to do. Those courses have to come out together, be done at the same time. Human nature is such that people hate to wait. So we can’t have waiting for one dish to get done so the timing of each dish in relation to the other dishes is important when building a menu. We have to take into consideration those allergies and dietary restrictions. So there is more that goes into building a menu but if a client tells me ‘I don’t want to do any meat’ or ‘I want it to be all chicken’ we will accommodate that.
Kristen: That is really great. So with these events you provide all the equipment, the ingredients, and the location is that correct?
Kristen: …and included in the price?
Richard: Ingredients are extra. It is the facilitation fee plus the ingredients, plus any venu charges. Typically a client has already got a venu whether it is an add-on to an off site meeting or if it is in their corporate offices.
Kristen: So if I am an HR manager and I am looking to do an event with Recipe for Success, how would I start? Say I have 100 people, where should I start?
Richard: Give us a call, give us an e-mail. Throw it in our lap and let us come back to you.
Kristen: Awesome, well do you have anything else that you would like to add? I think I have all my questions answered.
Richard: Yea, I have a couple of other very interesting events I would like to outline for you if you have a minute.
Kristen: Yea, definitely!
Richard: One of our favorite events is an ice cream making event. What is really cool about that is we use liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream batter. It is very dramatic, it looks like a witches brew. Liquid nitrogen is the coldest element on earth. It is 330 degrees below 0. So when the nitrogen hits the ice cream batter it creates like a smoke witches brew type of thing.
Kristen: O thats cool.
Richard: We ask the teams to pretend that they are ice cream scientists for Ben and Jerry’s and they need to come up with a new flavor. There is a General Store with an array of ingredients that you would never think of putting in ice cream and they need to create a new flavor. Then they need to create a package for that flavor. They actually have to design a package. They have to design a marketing plan and a 60 second commercial spot that they have to act out. In addition to that they make waffle cones from scratch.
Kristen: I actually really want to do that now, that sounds like so much fun!
Richard: It is awesome you know, who doesn’t like ice cream?
Kristen: Yea, what are some of the most interesting ice cream flavors that you have seen out of this event?
Richard: Well it is really interesting, the other day we did avocado rosemary ice cream.
Kristen: O my…
Richard: You wouldn’t believe it, it was one of the best ice creams I have ever tasted.
Kristen: Really? Wow! Well I would have to come to boston and try it out with you guys sometime.
Richard: Absolutely, our newest event is food truck event. Where we actually have teams build a food truck out of huge pieces of cardboard and then prepare food truck appropriate food. So they have to design the truck, put it together with pieces of cardboard, decorate it, put menus on it, put graphics on it and then cook the appropriate food. That is a great event.
Kristen: Do they come up with those food recipes for the food truck event?
Richard: We tell them what they are going to cook.
Richard: So one team will do a taco truck. Otherwise we will have all taco trucks. So we manage it so there is some variety.
Kristen: That is so cool, so do you have any other programs you want to share with us?
Richard: Lets see, pizza event is always fun! We ask the teams to pretend that they are opening a new pizzeria. Each team gets to make 3 different pizzas. One of which has to be either be a dessert pizza or a salad pizza. Then they have to design the box for the pizza, the graphics on the box and again a 60 sec commercial spot that they will act out. Then everybody eats everyone’s pizza. It is an interesting event.
Kristen: So you guys really cover all food groups it seems like. You got ice cream, chocolate, pizza, food trucks. Thats fantastic.
Richard: Yea, it is the most fun I have had in my life doing these. We have been in business for 12 years now and it seems like we just started yesterday.
Kristen: That is so much fun, I am sure people love coming and relaxing, eating and creating new food. That sounds like a fun way to cook.
Richard: The feedback that we get back from clients is almost embarrassingly good. It is the best way i can put it. I am amazed at the accolades that we get. It is not all from my aunts and uncles either.
Kristen: I don’t doubt it. It sounds like a really unique team building experience for people to go out and enjoy.
Richard: It really is. We have a good time. If we have a good time that kind of rubs off on the program.
Kristen: Yea, yea definitely. Well, thank you so much I think that is all I have. Unless you have any other exciting different…I don’t know maybe crepes or something that you guys also offer.
Richard: Well, we do a breakfast event. Then we do custom events, you got some cockaminnie idea? Yea we will make it work!
Kristen: O that is awesome. Well thank you so much Richard. This was so much fun. I am sure people are going to be very excited to sign up for recipe for success.
Richard: Great, thank you.
Recipe for Success Reviews
“It WAS A HUGE SUCCESSFUL EVENT!!! Thank you so much for everything…everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and Richard and his team of chefs were FANTASTIC!!!”
– Ability Beyond Disability
“The program was fantastic. Everyone I talked to said that they had a lot of fun and really enjoyed themselves. And much to everyone’s surprise, the food turned out excellent. Craig, who was on site facilitating the program was great as well. Very knowledgeable and helpful.”
“I have received wonderful feedback on the ‘Chocolate Company Challenge’ event. Participants were particularly impressed with the facilitator. We will definitely look into your company for future events. Please pass along our thanks and kudos to the facilitator.”
– Bank of America
“The attendees still talk about what fun they had. You should have seen the bar bill to prove it.”
– Rockwell International