Tina's Recipe for Team Success; Tina Moss Is Helping Employees Bond While Cooking Up a Storm in the Kitchen. Jenny Longhurst Finds out More
Byline: Jenny Longhurst
AS team-building sessions go, rustling up a three-course meal with your work colleagues then washing it down with a bottle or two of wine can beat paint-balling, quad biking or hanging about on a damp old barge any day.
When Tina Moss dreamt up the idea of using cookery as a business bonding exercise she asked herself if she was mad.
Then she pushed the nagging voice warning her not to be so daft in this economic climate to the back of her mind and forged ahead anyway.
And now, Cornerhouse Cookery, run from her kitchen in Heol Don, Whitchurch, Cardiff, has caught on as a civilised way for colleagues to connect productively away from the workplace.
"I've had groups of teachers here, banking people, staff from a medical company and have some solicitors coming next month," said Tina as she put the finishing touches to some bite-sized blinis with smoked salmon and Greek yoghurt and mini savoury scones - canapes to set the tone and welcome a group of marketing personnel about to arrive for their culinary adventure.
The three participants set to prepare a gourmet three-course dinner were old hands at team building exercises.
Penny McCormick, head of marketing, Lynette Bartram, marketing executive, and Katie Andrews, marketing assistant, all work in the diagnostics department of the biotech company British Biocell, Llanishen, Cardiff, where this kind of bonding training is considered to produce effective results.
Katie for one was relieved to be in a homely kitchen instead of paint-balling as on one previous occasion.
"That's just painful," she recalled.
"I got shot in the neck halfway through and had yellow paint dripping down all over me."
All admitted their cookery skills were average without being anything special.
Katie again revealed that on one team-building day that had included a cookery activity she had burned a chilli for 15 people.
"It had a really oaky taste," she said.
"I had to throw the pan away."
After a glass of wine and the canapes, it was pinnies on and down to work.
With Tina dishing out the tasks - Katie to peel and chop pears, Penny to weigh out and mix ingredients for the pudding and Lynette to get stuck into the sticky toffee sauce - the kitchen soon became a hive of activity.
There was much chat and laughter but definitely no slacking as Tina kept the dessert preparation on course.
It seemed to be a question of many hands make light work since almost before you could say pear and ginger pudding it was ready for the oven.
Then it was straight on to the Piedmontese peppers.
Tina admits she can "wax lyrical" about food for hours, loves to read cookery books like novels and dreams up ideas for many a dish in the middle of the night.
"I sometimes drive my husband mad," she said.
"At one o'clock one morning I thought of doing a tiramisu with raspberries and creme de framboise and I woke him up to ask, do you think they'll like it?" She's been in her element in the kitchen since she was six years old and knee high to her grandmother at her traditional Welsh range in Ammanford.
"I loved to help her make bara brith and scones and fruit cakes," she recalled. "Food became a passion.
I cook when I'm happy; I cook when I'm stressed. All the time, I find it really relaxing. …