This year, instead of holding our retreat the way we always have (holing up in the office for two days and pretending to discuss important things between Magic duels and Rock Band shenanigans) we decided to do something different. Since we're much larger now (28 this year compared to 11 last) and since a lot of folks are now remote, we decided to go offsite, and off-road, and holed up in Snowshoe, WV.
Now, you might think that a well-known ski resort like Snowshoe would have a lot going for it, and you'd be right, as long as you were thinking of things like nice slopes and good powder and relatively efficient lifts. If you were thinking of food, though, you would be sorely, sadly, and, alas, hungrily mistaken. Essentially, Snowshoe has a 7-11 with a Dominos Pizza built into it, and that's about it for food options. With 26 employees and a bunch of families around, we were going to be sadly limited in our comestibles without some heroics.
Enter Team Iron Chef. Before heading up to the retreat, we collected some volunteers to handle our cooking duties (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and a dinner, all for 30 people). Our intrepid team of dupesHHHHHheroes consisted of Muness (@muness), Jared (@jdpace) and Michael (@parenteau). This wonderful crew sacrificed their sleep, their energy and their participation in parts of the retreat to keep our rogue band well-stocked with calories. And did they ever.
Breakfast consisted of an onslaught of french toast, mounds of sausage, gallons of scrambled eggs, mountains of potatoes, rivers of coffee. They had to rise at 7 to hit the stoves and slave away all through breakfast to keep the food available for the rest of us to shovel gluttonously down our gullets. Then we would head off to the business portions of the retreat.
Then lunch would arrive; on the first day, Team Iron Chef left the retreat a little early to prepare an Italian feast, essentially an infinite supply of carbohydrates. There was pasta, and bread, and lasagna, and bread, and mushroom calzones, and bread, and a stunning marinara, and bread. And comas. The second day, they left a LOT early, and Jared showed off his skills as a master sushi chef and wowed us with a rainbow of fish flavors. The immortal cry of "Volcano Rollllllllll!" will not soon be forgotten in the hills of West Virginia.
And dinner, oh dinner, Michael and crew crafted an Indian feast. Pots of stews, piles of flavors, bowls of chutney. And bread.
For a company that takes so much pleasure in feeding itself, Team Iron Chef completely and utterly knocked it out of the park. It was an unbelievable accomplishment, that was coupled with enormous personal sacrifice. It was the very embodiment of team focus, and the retreat was made immeasurably better through their efforts. When I am asked in the future for examples of people pulling together as a team, and for a team, I will scream "Volcano Rollll!" and think fondly of Retreat '11.