A unique culinary concept from Atlanta called Team Building with Taste is expanding to Dallas, which combines cooking classes with corporate team building.
The concept is going into the space on Preston Road that was once a Cafe Express and more recently a DiMassi's, and will feature not only corporate classes but also regular cooking classes, wine tastings and other foodie events. The projected opening date is mid-October.
"Our primary focus and goal is corporate team building, but in a culinary environment," says spokesman Chic Henderson. "Companies like Toyota will bring in groups of their people who maybe haven't worked together. We break them up into teams and put them in the kitchen together, and they get to cook some good food."
Menus include Southern with fried chicken and potato salad; Italian with crostini, pappardelle and tiramisu; healthy with kale Salad and salmon; steak house with Caesar salad and New York; tapas; and brunch.
The idea evolved out of a food truck company with whom Henderson worked; he used to have the Potato Potahto food truck. His associates in Atlanta had a commissary space and wanted to make better use of it. Most of them, including Henderson, had corporate experience. They've helped more than 200 companies such as Wells Fargo and Home Depot.
Henderson says that there are other similar groups but they generally rent space and equipment at a hotel or other event space.
"Our secondary thing is that we have a cooking school, with demonstrations and cooking classes, and that's something we're introducing in Dallas," he says. "There's a shortage of good cooking classes, without going to a cooking school, for people who want to learn about cooking. You can go to Central Market or Sur La Table but it's not the same thing."
Dallas' enthusiasm for food and its large number of Fortune 500 companies makes it an ideal market for something like this.
"Food is an ice breaker and a friend maker with people," Henderson says. "If you can make a meal together, you learn things you probably didn't know."