Employment

TWO Offers ‘Team Building Through Culinary’ Program

Chop of Their Game

Members of Tru by Hilton’s ‘Team Awesome’ celebrate tying for the win in the cooking competition.

Eighteen employees from four different area hotels competed last month in a friendly, Chopped-style culinary competition at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute designed to enhance their professional development.

The participants, all management-level employees from the BK Investment Hotel Group, took part in a new one-day, four-hour program called “Team Building Through Culinary,” offered by Training and Workforce Options (TWO), a collaboration between Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College.

From the program’s customizable menu of options, the company chose “Sliced,” a culinary training exercise modeled after Chopped, one of the Food Network’s popular competitive-cooking shows. The training was led by chef and HCC Culinary Arts Instructor Tracy Carter, whose professional experience includes working at the Food Network, where she prepared the ingredient baskets for Chopped.

“The cooking sessions at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute are designed to help employees who work closely together improve their communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, while enhancing team cohesiveness and highlighting individual talents.”

“The cooking sessions at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute are designed to help employees who work closely together improve their communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, while enhancing team cohesiveness and highlighting individual talents,” said Tracye Whitfield, TWO’s director of Business Development. “TWO’s mission is to provide area companies customizable training progams for their employees’ professional growth.”

The Oct. 17 program included management teams from four of the BK group’s properties — Hampton Inn by Hilton, Residence Inn by Marriott, and Tru by Hilton, all in Chicopee, and Holiday Inn Express in Brattleboro, Vt. — who learned cooking techniques while competing against each other in one of the culinary institute’s teaching kitchens.

Under the direction of Carter, each of the four teams worked together to create a meal using a basket of pre-selected, mandatory ingredients, which in this case included chicken, brussels sprouts, mozzarella cheese, and guava paste, along with other items they could find in the kitchen’s pantries and refrigerators.

After the cooking was done, the participants sat down together to dine, sample each other’s creations, and vote for the team whose food they liked best. Two teams tied for the win: Hampton Inn by Hilton, wearing blue aprons and self-proclaimed “Team Awesome,” and Tru by Hilton, wearing yellow.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Sandra Reed Hofstetter, BK’s regional director of Operations. “Many thanks to Chef Tracy and the TWO team for the warm welcome and attention to detail.”

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