Team building cooking activities at Butcha Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: Happy employees produce better results at work. Although it is often thought salaries and perks are yardsticks to determine contentment among workers, other less obvious influences like teamwork and camaraderie play equally important roles, say corporate honchos in town.

No wonder Dubai-based HR executive, Brit Mark Taylor says companies are looking out for innovative ways to build team spirit.

Enter the chefs!

“A pinch of patience, a dash of kindness, a spoonful of laughter and a heap of love – is what we bring to the table. Employees on their part get to learn a skill, bond with their co-workers and see them in a different light altogether,” said Abs Patil, executive chef – F&B Concepts – Meraas that regularly hosts culinary workshops across three of its restaurants - Butcha Steakhouse & Grill, Poco Loco and Big Chefs Studio.

“When people feel connected to one another at work, they are bound to be productive. Working in an atmosphere characterised by friendship and laughter also creates less job stress, and activities like this help employees bond with each other,” he added.

New skills

A fast spreading trend, the cooking sessions, besides team- building, equip people with a new skill. “Some who never cooked all their life, leave our restaurants with a new feather in their cap,” said Denys Hryvas, assistant sales manager – F&B Concepts – Meraas.

“Companies take their staff out for dinners, a bowling game or a sports activity. Cooking is another fun activity to include in the list,” he said. A popular team building exercise at Big Chefs Studio in BOXPARK is an interlocking game that promotes co-operation. “We pair up team members and ask them to interlock their hands. They are allowed to use only one hand to cook. It is a fun activity and at the same time involves team effort to do the job,” said Patil.

Charges are Dh150 per person and involves every participant cooking a three-course meal and eating it too.

According to Julius Mutava, head instructor for Culinary Boutique in Jumeirah beach road, the gourmet café charges between Dh325 and Dh425 per person.

“We also give a complimentary drink. Participants cook and eat a three-course meal and even take the recipe home. Recently we hosted the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) staff and it was a huge success.”