The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Corporate Nutrition'

Team Building with a difference- 'Ready, Steady... Unite'

Team building events within a work environment can often be rather terrifying at first thought. Climbing up mountains and walking tight ropes or maze rooms springs to mind.  One imagines being put into a team of people, ‘thrown’ together to problem solve, work together and aim to agree on certain strategies to complete a task set. That sounds too much like any other work day. 

At The Cooking Academy, we offer a very different type of team-building activity, a cookery challenge in the form of a ‘Cook Off’ between colleagues – ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ that is a cookery event that has a broad appeal to everyone, united by the need to eat, click here to find out what else we can offer.

To be able to cook together and share the fruit of each other’s labour can create a deep connection between people. Whether you usually enjoy cooking or not, is completely irrelevant, as the pleasure of eating, after having shared tasks and objectives to prepare and cook the meal, creates a union of hearts and minds.

By cooking and eating together in a non-office, social but professional environment, we foster a greater connection, increasing trust and enabling teamwork.

No matter what the level of seniority, the activities become a leveler for all, from CEO and senior board level, right through to individual team members.

As a company, we acknowledge the importance of the nutritional value of food and we believe our passion and expertise are what make our events unique and truly memorable for our clients.

the client says:

Planet IT sharing on LinkedIn about their Ready Steady Cook Team Building Event.

Follow us on LinkedIn
Back to Corporate Nutrition Blogs

Read More
Improve your cognitive function with Peanuts

A higher nut consumption could be the key to better cognitive health in older people according to new research from the University of South Australia.

In a study of 4822 Chinese adults aged 55+ years, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory.

Lead researcher, UniSA's Dr. Ming Li, says the study is the first to report an association between cognition and nut intake in older Chinese adults, providing important insights into increasing mental health issues (including dementia) faced by an ageing population.

"Population ageing is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty-first century. Not only are people living longer, but as they age, they require additional health support which is placing unprecedented pressure on aged-care and health services," Dr. Li says.

"In China, this is a massive issue, as the population is ageing far more rapidly than almost any other country in the world.  "Improved and preventative health care – including dietary modifications – can help address the challenges that an ageing population presents.

"By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent– compared to those not eating nuts – effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline."  Dr. Li says peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.

Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health. While there is no cure at present for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.

The World Health Organization estimates that globally, the number of people living with dementia is at 47 million.

By 2030, this is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple. China has the largest population of people with dementia.

As people age, they naturally experience changes to conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed. This is all part of the normal ageing process; however age is also the strongest known risk factor for cognitive disease. Thus finding ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer is imperative, modifying their diet is a good start and absolutely worth the effort.

Research taken from University of South Australia – Dr li and Dr Shi  published January 2019
Read More
The Alchemy of Food – motivational speaker with a difference
Public speakers come in many shapes and sizes – some are motivational, some inspiring and some frankly obscure.  In my corporate life (before becoming a chef), I sat through many conferences and team meetings with guest speakers – from drivers of sub-sonic cars, to bobsleigh teams, to a woman who rowed solo across the Atlantic, to someone who used geese as an analogy for team building.

All these speakers encourage us to change our lives, or at least our work lives, how to work fitter, faster, smarter, be more competitive and so on.  Very few look at how we look after ourselves to meet those challenges.

‘The Alchemy of Food’ presented by Kumud Gandhi is the exception.   Kumud is a food scientist, published author and keynote speaker on health and wellbeing for peak personal and professional performance.

‘The Alchemy of Food’ is an inspirational non-jargon scientific look at the food we eat and motivates us to understand what we consume and the affect it has on us.

During the interactive speech, Kumud covers the nutritional and medicinal benefits of herbs and spices, and why certain ingredients are put together in a recipe.  Kumud explains how the medicinal value of ingredients, known to our ancestors, that has been lost in the mists of time is present in modern day recipes and medicine.  For example we don’t know why lemon is paired with fish, apart from it tasting nice! In fact it helps us digest the fish.

Using her food science background, Kumud explains how certain foods can affect our health and wellbeing including the changes in our brain, our levels of resilience, need for hydration and nutrition.

The difference with the Alchemy of Food from other motivational speeches is that you can make an instant change to your life, health and wellbeing through understanding what you are eating and how it affects you.  For team managers, it can be part of managing your team and dovetail with your corporate wellbeing programme.   It is always very well received by our clients who go away inspired by ‘going back to basics’ on flavour and information about the ingredients we use every day.

So what was life changing from all those speeches I sat through?  What did I learn from the sub-sonic car driver and the bobsleigh team?  Not much.  Debra, the woman who rowed solo became a friend and her example of ‘choosing your attitude’ encouraged me to run a half marathon.  And as for the goose-herder – the goose bit him, which is some form of feedback and the most memorable part of the speech!

‘The Alchemy of Food’ can be a one off presentation at a team meeting, or the introduction to a team build and is an excellent way of learning about health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in having a different motivational speaker at a team meeting or conference, please contact:
Read More
Team builds with a difference!
The feedback we get about our team building events, apart from being a hugely enjoyable experience, is often about the additional benefits the employees gain from the event.

The teams are thrown together in an unfamiliar setting and have a time limited task to achieve.  This calls for leadership, teamwork, communications, strategy and project planning even before they’ve lifted a pan.

It is an excellent way to observe how people work together, how they go about achieving the tasks they have been set.

Some teams just ‘go for it’ without much analysis of the task ahead, and quickly find they might have to regroup, read the recipes and ask for help.

Others can be taken over by a strong personality who might be a good at a particular task in the office or their profession, but the skills are not so transferrable to a multi-task project such as producing a Thai banquet.

The most successful groups are those that take some time to read the recipes, sort out who has the skills needed for the task, and thinks about timing.  These teams are often the most innovative and creative, and don’t lose the end objective from their sights.

The team skills they learn, or learn about by making mistakes, are all transferrable and sustainable skills that can be applied to the workplace.  In all cases, the teams go away with some learning and a sense of achievement.

Click here for more information about our corporate offering.
Read More
For those of us in business and particularly retail, over the festive period things may not have slowed at all and we still need to keep focused on our business objectives and activities.  This time of year is always challenging, commuting through dark mornings and evenings, usually awful weather and we’re past the festivities with a long month ahead until payday.  We need a lot of resilience to get through the gloom!

I believe January is always a good time to take stock and look at our objectives and how we can make life better for ourselves. Resilience and mindfulness are not only for the new age types, some of the most successful business people in the world take time out for themselves, actually they MAKE time for themselves.

Resilience training is often part of a business’s HR plan to support the workforce, and in my experience it only touches the surface as resilience and mindfulness are a way of living.  It’s about making a decision to set aside time or an activity for you, and only you.

Think about including some balance relaxation into your life, it can be anything from taking a walk, to sitting quietly, reading a book or listening to music, pursuing a hobby – whatever helps you clear your head and relax…and don’t forget to switch off the mobile. During the work day, take a walk around the block, fresh air and a different perspective will help

Make time for your family and friends.  If you’ve got a lot on, it may be difficult to do this, however research shows that catching up with friends and spending time socially is hugely beneficial, it keeps you less isolated and part of a community where you can share ideas and issues.

Following on from this, try and be more assertive when it feels like you’re being heaped with more tasks or it’s not clear what your objectives are.  Try and get some clarity, this will help you manage your workload.

What we eat can help us with our resilience.  Skipping meals is not a good idea, as it reduces the energy we have and leads us to reach for the snacks.  It’s always a good idea to avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugary or salted products as they give an initial boost to the system but this doesn’t long and you feel flat again.  Try and eat regularly and with others.  Research has shown that the community element of eating is hugely beneficial to wellbeing.

Eating breakfast is a good way to build resilience and set you up for the day’s challenges.  By eating porridge, granola or muesli and fruit you will a good energy source to keep you going.   Other foods to think about during the day are protein rich such as eggs, fish and soya.  Try and eat lots of vegetables and fruit.  And remember to drink lots of water to keep hydrated.

So set yourself some resilience objectives and start 2019 with a positive attitude!
Read More
Loading more posts