Cooking with our family, friends, or loved ones is a universal gesture. It draws people towards each other and creates lasting memories. Vietnamese cuisine plays an important role in strengthening social and familial bonds. GRAIN cooking studio is known for delivering a communal culinary experience to guests through their cooking classes. Last Wednesday, Vietcetera had the opportunity to visit the space. We split up into four teams and were joined by mattress startup Ru9 for a cooking competition.
After experiencing GRAIN cooking studio ourselves, this studio should be at the top of your list as a company looking to build a strong, collaboration-oriented culture.
Disclosure: Vietcetera is a shareholder in GRAIN Cooking Studio. And we’re always excited to share why!
Knowledgeable team with impressive cooking facilities
Once we arrived at the cooking studio, the Vietcetera team was greeted with a bright, welcoming staff. We were then instructed to draw a number to be assigned to different teams. With his excellent poise, the chef instructor was able to gracefully manage the crowd. He walked us through the dos and don’ts. We were then presented with our first mission: prepare fish sauce that would be used in all the upcoming dishes.
There was at least one GRAIN staff member standing by to assist us with any requests or questions. Thanks to the team of professional and experienced on-site facilitators, Vietcetera was able work through our chaotic, first-time cooking experience. Other cooking classes would have ingredients prepared beforehand at the cooking table. At GRAIN, we handpicked our ingredients from the fully stocked Market Place Pantry. All ingredients, proudly sourced from certified food suppliers, were measured to the exact serving sizes required for the competition.
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A challenging and diverse menu
During the three hour cooking session, Vietcetera learned to cook three Vietnamese dishes, from the easiest to the longest and most time-consuming (Pumpkin flowers stuffed with prawn & dill, chicken & cabbage salad with jellyfish, and marinated sea bass with mango salad). This menu was specifically tailored to the busy Vietcetera employees and interns who all had different cooking skill levels. Additionally, the staff incorporated fresh and healthy ingredients that satisfied everyone’s dietary needs. Though GRAIN mostly specializes in Vietnamese food, it also takes requests to design a seasonal menu or one with a more specific theme.
A friendly cooking competition
Cooking with friends and colleagues sounds like a lot of fun already, but it never hurts to throw in a little friendly cooking competition to spice things up. Here at GRAIN, not only will you learn to cook Vietnamese food, but you can also compete with other teams for best presentation, best tasting dish, and time of completion. Don’t lose your confidence if you’re not a good cook; your fellow teammates will be there to support you. The last five minutes of every cooking session is always be the most strenuous, yet creative. During this time, teams are maximizing their inventive minds to arrange the meal while rushing to bring their dish to the instructor.
It may sound ironic, but the competition brought Vietcetera closer together. Without this team-building activity, Vietcetera would have never known that our intern photographer, Co, would be a such a skilled, meticulous cook. You might not be the best at cooking, but you may have a creative mind and an aesthetic eye for food display. Everybody in Vietcetera always has something to bring to the table, no matter what background we’re coming from, our CEO Hao said.
Enjoy your own food
Not only did we learn some basic culinary skills but, most importantly, we were able to practice communication skills in a non-stressful competitive environment. We learned to trust our leader in memorizing the exact recipe, as well as step-by-step cooking instructions. We were able to evaluate our work efficiency after each round, and were able to identify the problem for future adjustments. Each team was given the chance to assess our stress management capacity. We also grew our confidence in personal and professional relationships among our teammates, and we aced it. We’ve learned to work together in a collaborative effort to recreate a dish within a limited amount of time — as well as being creative and personalizing our dishes with different garnishing concepts.
At the end of the day, we all agreed that we enjoyed the time spent together at GRAIN. We came in with no expectations, but we left with a feeling of connection amongst our colleagues.
If you are looking for a social event to boost your team morale and company culture while also filling up your stomach with high-quality Vietnamese cuisine, check out the GRAIN customizable team-building service for an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind cooking experience.
Written by Annie Trieu and Vy Mai
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