This year, our department's yearly team building event was planned to be held at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, California. In addition to the amazing views from Cavallo Point of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco view line, our department of about 25 signed up for a cooking class at the Cavallo Point Cooking School.
The department has done a few other cooking courses. It's been a 2-3 years from our other cooking courses which I did not plan, but I believe both times was planned via Parties that Cook in once at a winery and second in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. In comparison, Cavallo Point Cooking School offers better ingredients, a full kitchen, and more highly trained instructors. The main advantage the taking a course here MUST take place at the Cavallo Point kitchen. Luckily, the kitchen is located in an area with an amazing view from outside the kitchen. There is no view from the kitchen.
High Quality Ingredients
Compared to other cooking courses, Cavallo Point Cooking School had high quality ingredients to pair with their recipes based on local availability of produce. The salmon filet are purchased from local fisherman who fish responsibly and sustainably. Most of the other produce are purchased via farmer markets.
Fully Loaded Kitchen
Because we did all our cooking at their kitchen, we had full access professional equipment. A professional stove, multiple ovens, and tons of sharp knives. Though they had mixers and food processors, some of their appliances did appear to be worn, but still functional.
This is likely the biggest difference. This year, I learned a few cooking tips that are admittingly simple. Like how to easily separate cloves of garlic, how to properly hold and use a cutting knife, techniques to simplify cutting certain vegetables.
The main layout of the cooking class at Cavallo Point was similar to other cooking classes. We split the department up into small groups (of 4-5 people depending on the recipe). Each group is assigned an instructor and one recipe. As each group finishes their appetizers, the food is made available to the entire department. When all the groups are complete, we sit around tables in the kitchen to eat and chat. The staff deals with all the cleanup. Wine is also provided, one glass before, and another glass afterwards. More can be purchased or brought in (with a corkage fee).
The main downfall of the cooking class at Cavallo Point is the location. Even though parking was free and easy to find, it is a bit further (across the crowded Golden Gate Bridge). Since our department did not provide a bus, it did take some coordination to carpool to Cavallo Point. However, the view and location was well worth the trouble!
All in all, I would recommend Cavallo Point's Cooking Class to other companies looking for a fun team building exercise. Not only is teamwork an essential part of any cooking class, Cavallo Point also offers a stunning view of the city and a great place to hangout.