Get To Know Another Parties That Cook Corporate Events Chef

To continue our run of Lead Chef interviews, I took the opportunity to chat with Chef Nicole at a recent PTC corporate cooking event. Occasionally working alongside Chef Nicole, I can tell she is an amazing chef; a true professional. I appreciate her way of making you feel comfortable, not to mention her mean culinary skills. Now, I’m giving you the gift of meeting her too…

Tell us who you are.
I am Nicole Gimmillaro. I was born in Upstate New York, grew up in Southern California, and moved to the Bay Area 12 years ago. This is my 5th year with PTC.

What made you want to become a chef?
My passion for food and wine was initially sparked by my Grandma Angeline when I would spend summers with her in Upstate NY. I was always fascinated with how she would start dinner preparations before we even finished breakfast. She was slow and methodical. It was all about the ingredients and simplicity.

What were you doing before you became a chef?
I’ve worked in the restaurant industry since I was 15, beginning with grilling hot dogs at Weinerschnitzel. I finished a degree in English Literature, thinking it was a road out of restaurant work but… all roads led back to the industry. I taught disabled children for a while, as well as English as a Second Language. I’ve lived in Denmark, Costa Rica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever made?
One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever made was whilst cooking for a week-long yoga retreat in Provence, France. What stands out more than what was on the actual menu is the experience of sourcing the ingredients from the early morning fish market & massive farmer’s market in Nice prior to heading to the villa in Provence.

One thing guests would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a certified yoga teacher, a Pilates trainer, and a wine professional. I’m currently working on a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition.

What’s your favorite PTC memory?
After five years with PTC, I have so many memories. It’s hard to choose just one!

What do you love about working at PTC?
I love the opportunity to work with people from varying walks of life and the ability to turn them on to cooking techniques and foods unfamiliar to them — in a party setting.

What new ingredients are inspiring you right now?
The bounty of Summer fruits & vegetables with which I’ve been doing a lot of fermenting, pickling & dehydrating. I have a huge jug of Beet Kvass, a sour ferment originating from Russia, on my counter. It’s an excellent digestive tonic. I’m also turning Kirby cucumbers into dill pickles and have several jars of dehydrated Santa Rosa plums, strawberries & kiwi for salads & snack.

Clearly Nicole’s travels have taught her so much. She’s a real treat to have on the PTC team, and an invaluable resource to tap into at your next team building activity with Parties That Cook!

Team Building Done Right. How does it work?

TRACE3  Team BuildingTeam building events, when done right, can increase productivity and create more efficient teams by bringing individuals together, promoting team unity, improving communication skills, and strengthening trust among team members. With this list of potential perks, it’s surprising more companies don’t participate in team building activities, let alone have a team building budget. WHY does team building work, you ask? We’ve broken down a few reasons why team building with Parties That Cook is effective, and even provided some client testimonials!

1.) Successful team building events allow colleagues to take a break from work-related talk, relax and have fun!
Sometimes it’s hard to shake off the day and get out of work-mode. We’ve all been there. At Parties That Cook events, collaborating on a common goal makes it easy to get your mind off work. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll feel like the only thing you’re “working on” is your appetite. Communication is centered around the meal you create, and talking shop is not encouraged. According to Trace3 host, Theresa Chavez, “You were able to take our high stress employees who work around the clock, and get them to relax and have fun. Everyone seemed genuinely excited throughout the event.”LinkedIn Team Building
2.) Successful team building events allow you to get to know the rest of your team.
Walking into a Parties That Cook event, you may feel like a stranger among your colleagues. However, we consistently find that as the kitchen heats up, so do our guests. Ruby Lopez of LinkedIn says it best, “This event created a physical and emotional connection for our team. Our team is made up of people from different countries and various office locations, so face time is limited. Cooking together got us extremely close and gave us the opportunity to cheer each other in the midst of a project whereas with work we have to wait to see the results of a project and sit through the details in a presentation. Chef Anne was a great host and a wonderful instructor, I learned a lot from her and never felt like the novice that I am.”Bay Valley Foods Team Building
3.) Successful team building events allow teams to clearly define roles and responsibilities.
In the office, your role is likely clearly defined, and each member of your team likely has an area of expertise. At a Parties That Cook event, all assumptions at the office are thrown out the window. Sure, your group is split up and tasks are delegated, but new leaders emerge in the kitchen — and sometimes it’s the person least expected. Fresh team dynamics develop and it all comes together in a delicious gourmet meal. As Bay Valley Foods’ Jenny Hinson explains, “The best part was the team work and team building of the event and this is why it also made the event so successful because it showed that each station was in charge of one item to cook and everyone came together to meet a common goal, exactly how it is done within a company.”Aequitas Capital Management Team Building
4.) Successful team building events encourage groups to celebrate success.
“This was such a great team builder for our people. Our team members were visibly a more cohesive and collaborative group the following day. The competition element was a great motivator for the group,” says Jessica Christensen with Aequitas Capital Management. When you opt for one of Parties That Cook’s competitive cooking formats, a “winner” is determined. But official winner or not, every guest at every event is encouraged to celebrate with their team. A win can come from hitting their sales quota, a successful product launch, or even creating a crave-worthy menu together from scratch. At the core of Parties That Cook events is the sense of accomplishment our guests feel when they finally taste the fruits of their labor.