Cook-up a Team that Works Together!
“Let’s Take a Whisk” Team-building Cooking Classes are the perfect recipe for unforgettable corporate team-building events. Hands-on cooking classes encourage team-bonding, improve communication, and foster camaraderie, all while whipping up fun in the kitchen!
Consider a new option for corporate or group team-building in the eastern Iowa area. Innovative corporate cooking events can build teamwork and inspire camaraderie and collaboration – perfect for companies/groups looking to increase internal ROI, productivity and employee satisfaction.
1. Customize your event
Let me help you design the best team-building activity your company has ever experienced! Choose among several menu options or we’ll customize the event to fit your needs.
2. Choose a mouthwatering menu
Inspired by flavors around the globe, all menus highlight seasonal ingredients, and are designed to suit any palate or occasion.
3. Put on the finishing touches
From corporate gifts to special participation gifts (aprons, cooking utensils with your logo, etc.);
we guarantee a seamless planning experience and a complete team-building event that is effective, rewarding and deliciously fun!
Corporate/Group Team Building Events
If like many corporations and businesses, you’re searching for an ideal way to improve team morale, boost group communication, and bolster results, what better way than a day out of school learning new skills and having fun at the same time?
Studies have shown that Culinary Team-Building events are far more effective and produce longer lasting results than traditional team activities.
Your team will laugh and learn as they participate in the planning and execution of a menu utilizing many of the creative recipes we can provide!
Throughout the 3-hour session participants will discover that the only way to achieve their objectives is to work as a cohesive team, utilizing effective communication, planning and leadership.
Culinary Corporate or Group Team-Building is truly the ‘great equalizer’ bringing people together to improve communication, hone problem-solving skills, build morale and invoke spontaneous displays of joy.
The simple act of making good food together becomes the focus for sharing responsibility and making the most of each person’s individual skills. What better way to work toward a common goal than roasting pork tenderloin, steaming a medley of fresh vegetables or creating a decadent dessert?
After your team has prepared a taste-tempting 3- to 5-course meal, you’ll gather around the dining table together to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
Even if participants’ cooking skills are limited to nothing more than pushing a few buttons on a microwave, they will find a Culinary Team Building event both fun and educational.
People are continually amazed at the quality and presentation of the gourmet meals and appetizers they create without any previous cooking experience.
A day in the kitchen begins with participants arriving and wondering what they will be doing for the next few hours. Light appetizers and soft drinks will be served when everyone arrives.
Culinary Professional Nina Swan-Kohler will begin the program with introductions and a brief orientation of the activities for the day. This orientation last approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
The group is then divided into teams. You will have the opportunity to divide up your staff/employees into teams. Each team member’s name will be placed in a drawing to determine a “Top Chef!” Each “top chef” is presented with the recipes they will be preparing.
Each team will prepare part of the meal; maybe they’ll be making fabulous appetizer such as Olive Tapenade with Crostini, or a lovely mixture of salad greens tossed with a homemade vinaigrette, or roasted beef tenderloin with a cranberry wine sauce as the centerpiece entrée. . . or a mouth-watering Molten Chocolate Cake as part of their 5-course dinner. All their problem solving, timing and communication skills will be put to the test as they organize themselves and the timing of their dishes to assure that everything is ready to eat on-time, and in time for each course. The food preparation lasts for approximately 1 hour, followed by a sit-down dinner that lasts approximately 1½ to 2 hours. Each team serves their food “restaurant-style” to the other teams.
It’s during dinner when the real communication and team building occurs. People bond even further while dining together. This is the wonderful opportunity when everyone starts sharing about who they are when not a company employee. To reinforce this experience participants are asked to discover what they’ve learned from the team-building exercise, and how to apply it to their current working world. (This discussion lasts for about 30 minutes.)
Think inside and outside the bowl . . . Anything is possible!
Menu Options for Team-Building Classes:
Meal Option #1: Take a culinary journey to Mexico with this menu.
Appetizer – Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
Salad – Tossed Mixed Greens with Chipotle-Ranch Dressing
Soup – Triple Corn Soup
Entree – Herb-rubbed Pork Tenderloin (roasted or grilled)
Side Dishes - Black Bean Salsa and Rice
Dessert – Honey Sweet Fruit Salsa Sundaes ($75.00 pp)
Meal Option #2: Take a culinary journey to Italy with this menu.
Appetizer – Bruschetta with Artichoke Topping
Salad – Italian Spinach Salad
Soup – Caramelized Onion Soup
Entree – Biaggi-Style Italian Chicken and Vegetables with Balsamic Reduction
Side Dishes – Sugar Snap Peas with Browned Butter Sauce
Dessert – Individual Puff Pastry Cherry Cheesecakes ($75.00 pp)
Meal Option #3: Take a culinary journey to the Great Northwest (US) for this menu.
Appetizer – Zucchini and Tomato Puff Pastry Tart
Salad – Mixed Greens with Pears and Cherries with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Soup – Creamy Potato-Leek Soup
Entrée – Rubbed and Grilled Salmon
Side Dishes – with Mango Salsa served with Jasmine Rice
Dessert - Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes with Cherry Sauce ($80.00 pp)
Meal Option #4: Take a culinary journey to Trinidad and Tobago for this menu.
Appetizer – Pan-Fried Plantains
Salad – Mixed Greens with Strawberry, Mango and Avocado with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
Soup – Callaloo (spinach) and Crab Soup
Entree and Bread – Curried Chicken and Potatoes in Roti (flatbread)
Dessert - Homemade Mango Sorbet, plus Toasted Coconut Cookies ($75.00 pp)
Meal Option #5: Take a culinary journey to Italy for this menu.
Appetizer – Olive Tapenade or Tomato Basil Topping on Bruschetta
Salad- Italian Salad and Red Wine Vinaigrette
Soup – Italian Sausage Soup
Entree – Panko-Coated Tilapia (or chicken) with Balsamic Butter Sauce
Side Dishes – Penne Pasta with Asparagus and Glazed Carrots
Dessert – Tiramisu Parfaits ($75.00 pp)
Meal Option #6: Take a culinary journey to Hawaii for this menu.
Appetizer – Creamy Pineapple-Macadamia Nut Spread on Melba Toasts
Soup – Curried Chicken and Potato Soup
Salad – Tropical Fruit Salad
Entree – Jerk-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Side Dishes – Mango-Red Bell Pepper Salsa and Coconut Rice
Dessert - Individual Black Lava Cakes with Chantilly Cream ($75.00 pp)
Meal Option #7: Take a culinary journey to Mexico for this menu.
Appetizer – Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
Salad – Tossed Greens with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette,
Bread – Cheesy Herb Biscuits
Soup - Mexican Beef Soup with Chipotle Corn Chutney
Dessert – Honey-Sweet Salsa Sundaes ($65.00 pp)
Meal Option #8: Take a culinary journey to celebrate! (Available October through February)
Appetizer – Cranberry-Pecan Spread over Ginger Cookies
Salad – Tossed Greens with Apples, Pears, Almonds and Almond Vinaigrette
Soup – Butternut Squash Soup
Entrée – Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Cranberry Sauce
Side Dishes – Rice or potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas with Browned Butter
Dessert – Chocolate Molten Pie ($85.00 pp)
Menu Option #9: Take a culinary journey to the Jungle for this menu.
Appetizer – Sweet and Spicy Dip with Animal Crackers
Salad – Mango Salad with Lime Dressing
Bread – Monkey Bread
Soup – Black Bean Soup
Entrée – Grilled Wild and Wacky Chicken Breasts or Marinated Flank Steak
Side dishes – Roasted or Grilled Vegetables
Dessert – Zebra Cake ($75.00 pp)
Menu Option #10: Take a culinary journey that is all Black and White for this fun menu.
Appetizer – Black and White Pasta Kabobs
Soup – Creamy Potato Soup with Black Bean Puree
Salad – Cauliflower and Raisin Salad
Entrée – Chicken in Puff Pastry with Balsamic Reduction
Side Dish – Sautéed Mushrooms
Dessert – Flourless Chocolate Cake (or Zebra Cake) ($75.00 pp)
Menu Option #11: Take a culinary journey to the tropics.
Appetizer – Fried Plantains with Mango Salsa
Soup – Curried Potato Soup
Salad – Pineapple, Banana and Mango Salad
Entrée – Rum-Raisin Chicken Breasts
Side Dish – Jasmine Rice and Steamed Broccoli (or Sugar Snap Peas)
Dessert – Cream of Coconut Cake ($75.00 pp)
Menu Option #12: 5-Course Healthy and Elegant Gluten Free Dinner #1
Appetizer – Creamy Olive Spread on Nut Thins
Salad – Tossed Spinach with Roasted Red Peppers and Pine Nuts with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Soup – Creamy Asparagus Soup
Entrée – Italian Herb-Marinated and Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Side Dishes – Jasmine Rice, Sugar Snap Peas with Browned Butter Sauce
Dessert – Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake ($80.00 pp)
Menu Option #13: 5-Course Healthy and Elegant Gluten Free Dinner #2
Appetizer – Roasted Raspberry-Chipotle Dip and Nut Thins
Salad – Strawberry-Avocado Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
Soup – Creamy Sugar Snap Pea Soup
Entrée – BBQ Salmon on Cedar Plank or Honey-Rosemary Marinated and Grilled Chicken
Side Dishes – Orange-Glazed Carrots, Jasmine Rice
Dessert – Peachy-Keen Layered Ice Cream Dessert ($80.00 pp)
Meal Option #14: Take a culinary journey to Hawaii for this Gluten Free menu.
Appetizer – Creamy Pineapple-Macadamia Nut Spread on Nut Thins
Soup – Curried Chicken and Potato Soup
Salad – Tropical Fruit Salad
Entree and Side – Jerk-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Side Dishes – Mango-Red Bell Pepper Salsa and Coconut Rice
Dessert – Mango Sorbet and Coconut Macaroons ($75.00 pp)
Meal Option #15 Elegant 5-Course Italian Dinner #4 – A Little Italy in Iowa: – Gluten-Free
Appetizer: Buschetta with Artichoke Topping
Salad: Caprese Salad
Soup: Tomato Basil Soup
Entrée: Pan-fried Chicken served with a Balsamic Reduction
Entrée: Roasted Seasonal Vegetables, Jasmine Rice
Dessert: Poached Pears with/w/o Chantilly Cream
Gluten-Free and Lactose Free Menus - All Menus below are ($80.00 pp)
Menu Option #16 Elegant 4-Course Southwestern-Style: Gluten Free-Lactose Free
Appetizer: Roasted Vegetable Corn Quesadilla (with or without cheese)
Soup: Southwestern Beef Soup with Chipotle Corn Chutney
Salad: BBQ-Ranch Chicken Salad
Dessert: and Honey-Sweet Salsa Sundaes
Menu Option #17 Elegant 4-Course “Cherry” Dinner: Gluten Free-Lactose Free
Appetizer: Cherry Salsa with Apples and Pears
Salad: Tossed Red Leaf Lettuce with Dried Cherries and Nuts with a Toasted Pecan Vinaigrette,
Entrée: Rubbed and Roasted “Peppered Pork Tenderloin,” served with Cherry Cream Sauce
Sides: Jasmine Rice, Steamed Green Beans Almondine
Dessert: Cherry-Chocolate Flourless Chocolate Cake
Menu Option#18 Elegant 5-Course Tropical-Style Dinner: Gluten Free-Lactose Free
Appetizer: Avocado Salsa with Corn Tortilla Chips
Soup: Curried Potato Soup
Salad: Tossed Green Salad with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
Entrée: Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Sides: Jasmine Rice, Pineapple Salsa
Dessert: Mango Sorbet and Coconut Macaroons
Menu Option #19 Elegant 5-course – European-Style: Gluten Free-Lactose Free
Appetizer: Olive Tapenade on Nut Thins
Soup: Carrot-Ginger Soup
Salad: European Tossed Green Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Entrée: Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Sides: Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
Dessert: Gourmet White and Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Embellishments
Menu Option #20 Elegant 5-Course Dinner #1: Gluten Free-Lactose Free
Appetizer: Asparagus with Basil Aioli
Soup: Snow Pea and Coconut Milk Soup
Salad: Tossed Greens with White Wine Vinaigrette
Entrée: Honey-Ginger Salmon
Sides: Mango Salsa, Citrus Rice
Pavlova (meringue with fruit)
Menu Option #21 Elegant 5-Course Dinner #2: Gluten Free-Lactose Free
Appetizer: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Pita Chips or Crudités
Salad: Tossed Spinach with Roasted Red Peppers and Pine Nuts with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Soup: Creamy Cream-less Asparagus Soup
Entrée: Grilled and Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin or Pork Medallions with Maple-Brandy Sauce
Sides: Sugar Snap Peas with Browned Butter Sauce, Roasted Potatoes
Dessert: Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake
Menu Option #22 Elegant 5-Course Dinner – Vegetarian
Appetizer: Olive Tapenade
Salad: Tossed Greens with Apples, Cherries and Toasted Pecans with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Soup: Chunky Tomato Basil Soup
Entrée: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Sides: Steamed Green Beans Almondine
Dessert: Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce
Menu substitutions are available for the above suggested menus. Some of the menus above can be modified to accommodate dietary issues. Some menus may need to be modified based on the venue selected.
For groups 15 and smaller, the team-building events are usually held in my home.
For groups 16 to 20, the team-building events can be held in my home or other local venues.
For groups larger than 20, the team-building events can be held in local venues in the Cedar Rapids area such as Lowe Park Pavilion, Hiawatha Community Center. Call for details and costs. In Iowa City, The Terry Trueblood Park and Pavilion can also be used for such events. We will need to check for availability of the venue.
Most team-building events last for 4 hours. They should be begin no later than 6 p.m., if held at other venues as they require that we be out of the venue by 11 p.m. in most cases. This will allow time for my clean-up crew.
Rentals: When holding your event at other venues, a rental fee will be charged for dinnerware, flatware, glassware, linens, etc. I will be happy to make all the arrangements for you and your group.
Delivery Fee: For all events out of my home, a delivery fee will be charged.
Alcohol Option: If you want to provide alcohol (beer or wine) for your group, you will need to provide the beverages and sign a legal document accepting liability for your group. There is also a small up-charge of $2.00 per person when alcohol is added to your event to cover extra glassware, etc. needed.
My recommendation for the most successful team-building experience is to limit the amount of alcohol served and made available at the event. We can discuss what is best for your group.
Photos and Videogram Option: If you would like to have photos taken of your group in action preparing and enjoying the meal together, there will be an additional fee of $50.00. These will be sent to you via email after the event for your use.
Payment: Prices above are based on paying cash or with a check. If you must pay by using a credit card, there will be a 3% additional handling fee.
- Set a date.
- Determine the menu (from my list of options).
- Determine special needs (gluten free, vegetarian, etc.) for your group.
- Determine your objective for the event i.e. “build stronger relationships with team members outside of work,” ”have fun cooking together,” “celebrate a successful year,” or something else.
- Determine if you would like to provide your group with aprons, whisks or other cooking utensils as take-home keepsakes. These items require a few weeks lead time. However many items are available via my boutique.
- Aprons are provided for use during the team-building event. If you would like to purchase your own aprons, please let me know.
- Chef Hats are provided for each team’s top chef for an extra charge of $10 each. The top chef’s can keep their hats.
- 50% of the total estimated fee is due when booking your event.
Team-building Cooking Classes are held at 460 Hickory Court, Robins, Iowa 52328
(Robins is located about 2 miles north of Cedar Rapids.)
Testimonials from recent team leaders:
“My entire team loved Nina’s Team-building Cooking Class. The experience was great for getting to know each other, developing teamwork and having fun.”
Craig Oehlert, Manager at Rockwell Collins
“Let’s Take A Whisk” was a unique team building experience that we’ll not soon forget. Everyone in our group loves to eat, but not everyone loves to cook, so I took a risk and it really paid off. Nina and her staff were very supportive in our preparation. The food we cooked was fantastic and we had a lot of fun. I would definitely do this again.”
Thanks again for a great experience! September 2012
Dan Gordon, Manager at Transamerica Life & Protection
“It was very useful and fun. It was superb!” February 2014
Martha May, HR, Rockwell Collins
“The team-building experience with Nina was awesome. I’d highly recommend it.” February 2014
Patty Nelson, HR, Rockwell Collins
“Great time getting to know people I thought I knew, even better.” February 2014
Mike Bell, HR, Rockwell Collins
“This was a great experience filled with fun, teamwork and great food!” March 2014
Rod Dooley, HR, Rockwell Collins
“What a fun way to spend time together – creating something we are proud of and learning about each other at the same time.” March 2014
Jacy Haetke, HR, Rockwell Collins
“Nina’s Team-building cooking class was a fun and relaxed way to spend time together and improve our team.” April 2014
Lea Montross, HR, Rockwell Collins
“For a self-disclosed non-cook, I loved it!” April 2014
Mike Miller, HR, Rockwell Collins
“A wonderful host, with an awesome atmosphere for a great team-building experience.” July 2014
Neil Joss, Aegon USA
“The team-building event was great! Quite a hit with our group. It exceeded our expectations of what we wanted to get out of the team-building outing. I’m so glad we came.”
“We really enjoyed the photos and Videogram, too. You did a very nice job!!! It really was a wonderful event for my team! ” August 2014
Lisa Carson, Senior Asset Manager for Aegon USA Realty Advisors, LLC
“It was a unique opportunity to get to know my co-workers while making a wonderful meal together.” August 2014
Brooke McLaughlin, Aegon USA
“The food was amazing and this was a great team-building experience.” September 2014
Jess Bailey, Grainger
“Great time spent with teammates and time to learn about each other.” September 2014
Matt Kinley, Grainger
“It makes team-building a tasty experience!”
Terry Zimmerman, Rockwell Collins – January 2016
“What I loved most was that the recipes were very easy to follow even for those of us who have limited cooking experience.”
Juliette Mondesir Adams, Rockwell Collins – January 2016
“Let’s Take a Whisk” – Together!