On Wednesday 21st September almost the entire team at Postcode Anywhere made a mass exodus to rural Herefordshire to attend a team building challenge with a difference.
Our MD Guy Mucklow came up with the bright idea of visiting Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen for a team building cookery event.
With the help of the organisational skills of our Office and HR Manager, Christine Cameron, who unfortunately could not attend, we all travelled to Rayeesa’s beautiful 17th century farmhouse to take part in a great evening. Although it was meant to be a team-building learning experience it was fun, entertaining and very satisfying in the sense that we got to eat a fantastic, authentic, home cooked Indian meal. We also learnt how to make a few simple dishes ourselves.
Our hostess and culinary instructor, Rayeesa, welcomed us all to her Indian Cookery School, located in the sprawling, unspoilt and beautiful Herefordshire countryside.
Swapping truncheons for luncheons
Rayeesa teaches both traditional and modern methods of Indian food preparation and cooking techniques to small groups of people who want to learn the skills to enable them to create mouth-watering Indian meals in their own homes, tailored to suit all abilities. She also adapts course content so it’s suitable for corporate team building exercises, which is why we were there.
As soon as we arrived at the venue, Rayeesa introduced us to her team and told us a bit about her background. It was quite interesting, as she was formerly a Police Officer with the Metropolitan Police, where she worked with vulnerable children. She, her husband and three children moved from London to Herefordshire three years ago.
Rayeesa learnt her culinary skills from her mother who is from Hyderabad in India, a place known for its wonderful aromatic and excellent cuisine – essentially the food of the ‘Raj’. With her talent for cooking and her passion for Indian food she decided she would like to pass on her skill to others – and Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen was created. It has now gained much success as a business enterprise as well as receiving gastronomic acclaim.
Making barfi… a lot more appetising than it sounds!
After we had all washed our hands and donned our aprons we were divided up into two groups, where each group was set a challenge. Team A, which was my team, made traditional vegetable samosas while team B made barfi, a cold dessert. We all had great fun participating in our respective challenges. I managed to get flour everywhere; up my nose, and in my hair, as I found making the samosas quite difficult. The boys, on the other hand, especially Alex Schofield, Andy Bennett, Peter Rocker and Richard Geary, were destined to be pastry chefs. Their rolling techniques and dexterous skill in filling the tiny cone-shaped parcels put me to shame!
After the team-building element of the challenge, we all sat down to a wonderfully sumptuous Indian meal, where we got to sample the food we had made. It was a great evening and a great way to build teams and socialise with colleagues you do not necessarily meet during the course of the working day. I personally found making the samosas while chatting to people really therapeutic and quite relaxing.
Nicky and I managed to get lost on the way home as she kindly offered to be my chauffeur for the evening. It was my fault really as I was tasked with watching the Sat Nav screen as the sound wasn’t working very well and I was too busy talking as usual. However that was a small price to pay as the evening was a fabulous one.
As a team-building event or for anyone who wants to learn more about how to cook traditional Indian cuisine, I would thoroughly recommend visiting Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen. For more information visit: www.rayeesasindiankitchen.com