Bonding Over Burrata: How Cucina Milano Brings Teams Together

Tucked away in the heart of the city, here’s one of the best-kept secrets to get your team gelling and eating well.

Team Building Cucina Milano, is an intimate, Italian restaurant perfect for corporate team building. A fun way for employees to get to know one another that’ll leave your staff not only raving about the food, but also about their co-workers.

When teams enter Cucina Milano, they first smell the yeasty waft of fresh baked bread and the simmering tomato sauces. And then they notice that the restaurant — floor-to-ceiling, with its exposed brick walls and soft lighting — has been set up for this kind of thing, for this type of group: cosy, intimate, relaxed. Once you enter this stage, it’s more comfortable to drop your guard and talk like real people.

The team-bonding experience in this case is Italian cuisine. Guided by guests of Cucina Milano, the restaurant’s chefs take office workers on a ‘quest’ of Italian cooking inside the restaurant. Castle Donjohn is inside an office. Cucina Milano (‘Milanese’ or ‘Milan Kitchen’) is outside of it. Team-bonding participants put on aprons and huddle around the restaurant’s large, wooden tables.

The meals prepared by the Cucina Milano chefs are designed to provide an authentic Italian experience, but also to encourage participants to work together and communicate with one another. They prepare dishes such as hand-rolled tagliatelle and meatballs seasoned just right. By cooking together, colleagues have to collaborate and delegate tasks to reach a shared goal.

The chefs guide participants through the recipes, and share their knowledge on what techniques are associated with Italian cooking. Guests are encouraged to try different flavours during the process as they are literally creating the meal. As the teams increasingly become familiar with the ingredients, they are also constantly given the opportunity to discover new skills and talents, and given the freedom to make the dishes their own.

Another key element of the Cucina Milano team building experience that has been identified as a major plus is the emphasis on quality ingredients. Cucina Milano uses seasonal, fresh locally sourced produce from farmers and artisanal producers with whom they have built long-lasting connections, showing their participants first-hand how much better the food tastes from simple, high-quality authentic raw ingredients and emphasising the importance of quality in any kind of food production.

By incorporating this activity in team building activities, Cucina Milano’s chefs encourage an exchange of ideas, and team members feel empowered to offer feedback, provide suggestions, and work together to solve problems. This results in breaking down barriers that often contribute to a competitive environment that can impede teamwork. This concept of teamwork carries over into the typical workplace with many of the same benefits.

The group eating session, the final stage of these team-building exercises, is now the group’s reward, a reminder not only of what everybody can collectively produce but also of the basic function of food provision at the very centre of relation-alism. Above all, preparing and sharing a meal together generates bonding memories for the employees.

Behind the cured meats, great wine, and rolling pins lies a hands-on team-bonding activity that teaches participants how to work towards a common goal combined with clear communication, flexibility and clear trust in each other’s competence. Then, at the end, the whole thing comes together in a way that can have individuals amazed at what they have achieved in a short space of time.

From the Kitchen to the Office: Savoring the Rewards of Teamwork

When they return to their professional lives, the team-building exercise at Cucina Milano will have provided unexpected benefits: self-insight, navigation of intractable interpersonal issues, knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, and trust. ‘When professional work teams consider where to get together, they choose Cucina because it offers something in addition to the food – a delicious learning experience.’ 

You can’t necessarily realise team potential every day; but when you take a careful step away from the work tables and leave your team building at Cucina Milano, you’ll carry some of those same skills and insights into your newfound work relationship. When you get back to the office, you’ll find yourself dealing differently, working more productively and cohesively with a newly acquired sense of that deep, visceral understanding between two cooks who have completed a long day of team labour by crafting the tastiest burrata they’ve ever seen.

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