|Executive chef Liz Walkowicz (left) and chef instructor Alexandra Riccuiti (right)|
in the kitchen at Eurostoves.
Gordon College News Service
April 5, 2012
(This story appeared April 18, 2012, in the print and online editions of The Salem News.)
BEVERLY—Are things about to boil over at the office? Try taking it to the stove.
Eurostoves, a gourmet cooking store in Beverly, has a unique recipe for bringing the community into the store while helping businesses build better office dynamics at the same time. Through the sometimes difficult art of cooking and preparing a meal, the store offers corporate cooking events in their kitchen for team building and group exercises.
“In the office, people are not always collaborating as much as they should,” said Eurostoves’ chef instructor Alexandra Ricciuti, 37, of Beverly. “[Cooking classes] are a nice chance to work together and it’s fun to create something everyone enjoys.”
In early March, Linda McGrath, assistant to the head of controlling at EMD Millipore Corporation, a biomanufacturing company in Bellerica, took a team of 42 employees to Eurostoves for a chance to get out of the office and into the kitchen.
“I was looking for a fun, interactive team building event,” she said. “It was an all around great night.”
For many of her employees, it was the first time they met face to face.
“Even though they’ve emailed and talked on phone, they had an opportunity to talk to each other in a more informal atmosphere,” McGrath said. “They got to know people on a personal side that you don’t always get to do at work.”
Ricciuti said that a few times a month different companies bring a group in, ranging from 10 to 50 employees, for a night of cooking. An event typically lasts for three hours, which gives teams time to prepare a meal and a dessert with a chef instructor and present their plate before a panel of judges.
“We get a lot of biomedical people and I find their minds work a lot differently than the chef,” Ricciuti said. “It’s amazing the quality of food that comes out.”
The store also sells gourmet cooking appliances and equipment, but attached to the store is a kitchen that has held upwards of 70 people during cooking competitions. Eurostoves offers classes and events for businesses and the public at $75 per person ($125 per person for corporate events). Several events in April include Couples Cooking French Country, Caribbean Dinner Party and April in Paris.
Finding creative strategies to get the community involved in the store, like Eurostoves’ classes, is a popular trend right now, according to Erik Smith, vice president of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce.
“People are realizing they need to get up from behind their computer and not be afraid to aggressively go out there and find new ways to market themselves,” he said.
Several corporations benefit each month, both in the kitchen and in the office, from Eurostoves invitation to employees to work together in their store.
McGrath said it was interesting to see how people took on different roles within their groups to get the task accomplished, which on their night included both a chicken and crab cake dish, along with appetizers, soup, salad and dessert.
“It’s a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for people to be themselves and get to know each other,” she said. “In the end it’s a huge success.”