“The Chefs Are Really A Part Of The Fabric Of The Community” – Dr. Donna Harris

Answer a simple question. How do you feel after sharing an amazing meal with someone, no matter who it is? The ability to slow down, tell stories, explain your connection with the meal you’re sharing. It’s pretty great, isn’t it?

Sharing Food Is A Global Language

We at Taher have known this for years. Our Chief Operating Officer, Shawn Taher, has given speeches on the subject at the United Nations! It is one of the reasons we visit international locations on our Chef Council trips.

Sharing food - Arabic meal

Food is a connection. Think of your grandmother’s recipes. It’s a connection to somewhere else. Where they came from. Why they sought a new opportunity. But still that connection to the old country. Sharing food begins that bond of family. Not just caring about one another, but the heritage shared between people with a common ancestor.

Not Just For Family

When did you get together with friends? What was at the center? Food! Sharing food is at the very center of almost all of human relationships and bonds. There are tons of benefits to sharing food or a meal with people.

It builds trust among people sharing the same food. You can achieve decisions and consensus more quickly, you’re more likely to respect each other, and it’s easier to work together.

Sharing pizza

Here are some of the reasons to get the people together and share a meal.

  1. It promotes productivity.

    Eating together builds trust, even subconsciously. A recent case study from Entrepreneur showed the company Impraise boosted morale and productivity among members of its team just by the simple act of sitting down together and having lunch. It helps people from across the company learn about each other and make them feel welcome.

  2. It boosts morale.

    It is difficult to build morale in high-stress environs, like a hectic classroom. If you can slow down the environment, introduce a level of calm, and bring in something that even reminds people of home, it can be a great way to bond with people you work with every day. There’s even a great book about Leaders Eating Last. 

  3. Eating the same food builds trust.

Seriously, it does. It’s not enough to just have everyone bring a lunch and sit down. Sharing the same food sends the subconscious signal that “this food is safe and I will eat it with you.” Not super important now, but sitting around a fire in 20,000 BCE it becomes much more important. We’ve kept that Cro-Magnon part of our brain and relied upon it to build relationships and trust in our tribes.

We have tons of stories from our Chef Council trips about sharing food. It builds team camaraderie and builds relationships with the locals. Chef Chris Murray will never forget the meals he shared with people in Morocco and Vietnam. He even mentions the Vietnam story in his Chef Spotlight!

Now that you know the benefits of sharing food and meals, what are some action items you can implement to make your school or district a more welcoming place, especially for new faculty?