Hotels and resorts are not the only places to find team-building programs. Where there is a kitchen, there could be a chef, ready to whip up a friendly cooking competition.
• Some culinary schools and college culinary arts programs offer team building for nonstudents. One example is Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., home to an accredited culinary arts and hospitality management program that will organize Iron Chef Competitions. Among the groups that have donned aprons is the convention sales staff from Travel Lane County.
• In Somerton, Ariz., outside Yuma, Main Street Cafe’s Cooking with Sabor (flavor) classes use local produce to make tamales, nopales and other border favorites. A fun afternoon of cooking benefits a good cause as the cafe is an offshoot of the nonprofit Regional Center for Border Health, which promotes healthy eating and job training for women in the food-service industry.
In Yuma, chef Tina Clark teaches cooking classes at Tina’s Cocina, part of a historic church that is now St. Paul’s Cultural Center in historic Century Heights. And From the Farm, a new enterprise that is part event venue and part u-pick fields in a rural setting has classes this fall to help cooks learn the lost cooking techniques of their grandmothers.
• Innkeepers get a kick out of cooking for others, and some will share their knowledge with small groups. Among them is Deb Sanders, owner of the Windmill Inn, near Abilene, Kan. Also in this small Kansas town between Manhattan and Salina, chefs Meta and Barry West show students how to make cheese truffles, salad bread, bacon-wrapped dates and other tasty treats during Let’s Have a Cocktail Party.
• In Alexandria, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; and other foodie towns, tours of the local culinary scene have emerged. DC Metro Food Tours, based in Alexandria, has created Crepes Around the World, where teams of four to five people draw the name of a country and then create a crepe that reflects that country’s cuisine. Each team member has a role — project manager, purchasing agent and public relations director among them. After presentations and judging, the group enjoys crepes with wines picked to complement their creations.