As early as I can remember, I’ve been in love with food. I’m pretty sure my parents have footage of me as a toddler enjoying a bowl of porridge with the same level of excitement that most people would experience having won the lottery.
My experience of food is pleasure, it’s nourishment, it’s multi-sensory, it’s sharing, it’s education and (perhaps a little too frequently in my kitchen) it’s experimentation, trial and error. By no coincidence whatsoever, our culture here at Salad also revolves around food in one way or another.
First up we have Lunch Club. The idea is that if everyone throws £1.50 into a pot, we can club together to make fresh and beautiful salads and rices, toasties or pastas at a fraction of the price of the typical beige lunchbox options. But that’s just our Monday-Thursday routine. On Friday’s we eat for free. Every Friday, Salad offers the team an hour to put down our tools (keyboards) and pick up some cutlery instead.
We now crowd around our beautiful hand-crafted wooden table and share a banquet that would make King Henry VIII jealous. Fajitas, Ploughman’s, Fish Finger Sandwiches, Italian Antipasti, Caesar Salad, Chili Jackets… you name it, we’ve eaten it. We try to make the entire experience a collective one. Someone shops, a few people cook up a storm in the kitchen while others lay the table. There’s probably something to say here about some sterling team work but the truth is, no-one notices it’s happening, we’re just all working towards the collective goal of eating.
Lunch is just one of the ways we celebrate our love of food. If you’re a fan of the Great British Bake Off, you’ll be excited to learn that Candice has nothing on our designer, Natalie. Now in its second year, the Salad Bake Off requires each Saladite to think up and create a master bake at home. They’re then scored by the rest of the team based on appearance, taste and effort. You can check out the final scores here: http://bakeoff.saladcreative.com
After a considered effort by everyone this year, Natalie retained her crown and won almost enough prize money to cover the cost of the bake itself. Needless to say, it’s the taking part that counts with this one…
But crucially, these activities are about much more than food.
Lunchtime for some unfortunate souls is half a packet of biscuits scoffed on-route to their next meeting or a crusty chicken sandwich at their desk. We love food so we use it as a chance to pause and share time together. Food is the facilitator, but the purpose of these activities at Salad is to make space to connect with one another.
Our culture is completely unique and the experience of working in this environment is defined by our people and each new person that joins us. The ‘family feel’ reputation Salad has earned attracts talent (and work), and has been maintained for 15 years partly thanks to regular cultural rituals like these.
Do you treat your lunch breaks with the same level of priority?
How do you make time for your team to check-out of work and connect with one another? Let us know @saladcreative