We all bring our family history to the work with us on a daily basis. We are a product of the culture we experienced in our childhoods. But as much as some people try to shake their past, your history can help you bring a new perspective to everything you do.
(Photo by Adam Taylor / Lifetime)
This week’s episode of Supermarket Superstar was all about global cuisine. The three contestants each brought a bit of their own culture to the table with products you can’t currently find in your local grocery store.
Ksenia wants to launch a Russian food craze with her old family piroshki recipe but the judges said her creation lacked flavor.
Liza came in with her grandmother’s Portuguese stew which chef Michael Chiarello called a “hug in your stomach.” Entrepreneur Debbi Fields loved the flavor but the 970 milligrams of salt made her say no, no, no.
Dominic presented a culture clash of Chinese and Mexican cuisine which he calls a Kung Pow Chinese Tamale or Chimale. A terrific, out of the box concept but it lacked the pow the judges were looking for.
After their critiques, the chefs have a chance to change their recipes before presenting to a focus group but that task was more difficult than usual. These recipes represented home, family, history, so they were extremely reluctant to make changes.
It’s understandable. We’re all very attached to our heritage so even small changes can seem like a betrayal. In the end, both Liza and Ksenia refused to make the requested changes and they both were sent home. Dominic, who was able to modernize his dish without sacrificing too much of his heritage went home the winner.
In the workplace, we often forget that everyone comes from a different place in life. These differences can work for us or against us. When it’s time to brainstorm a new product or a solution to a problem, our varied experiences can help us come up with a broad range of options.
Unfortunately, many employees don’t know how to work with people who are culturally different. That’s a big problem and not just internally. This is a global economy. Your customers and clients come from all over the world. So your employees need to be open and understanding of different traditions and world views.
The reason the buyer from A&P was even interested in meeting with these home cooks is because our tastes are expanding. The woman who grew up eating Italian has learned to love Greek because it’s available in her neighborhood.
Food is a great leveler. Why not have an international pot luck at your workplace? Invite everyone to bring a dish they grew up with then share the story and that recipe with the team. Your employees will never see each other the same way again and that’s a good thing.
What do you think?
Have you ever had to deal with culture clash in your workplace? We’d like to hear how you handled the situation. Leave your thoughts here or on Twitter.
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