FoodTraNet Workshop & Teambuilding: The Barilla experience
By Cathrine Terro and Lidia Molina.
Barilla, Parma, Italy
It is always exciting when ESRs have a teambuilding event. Last time it was a rafting trip in Slovenia and this time it is an exceptional experience of Barilla in Parma, Italy. It's evident that the FoodTraNet team shares a genuine passion for both food science and culinary excellence.
Given this shared enthusiasm, selecting Parma makes the ideal destination for the second Foodtranet teambuilding. Parma is renowned as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, boasting a rich culinary heritage that includes delicacies such as Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, Culatello di Zibello, Mushroom di Borgotaro, Coppa di Parma, and fine wines like Colli di Parma.
Where the Italian iconic pasta is born: Barilla
On the first day, ESRs and supervisors met at the Barilla Learning Center Auditorium. Michele Suman, Food Safety & Authenticity Research Manager in Barilla, provided the early-stage researchers with a detailed overview of the company's impressive 145-year history.
Following a warm welcome, ESRs and supervisors delved into thought-provoking podcasts created by our ESR, Nayyer Rehman, featuring interviews with FoodTraNet's Industrial Liaison Group partners. This workshop sparked engaging discussions on topics like career development, industry outlook, scientific skills, and work-life balance, with ESRs taking the lead in the dialogue.
In the afternoon, everyone had the opportunity to tour the Barilla production lines, gaining firsthand insight into the entire production process, from raw materials to Barilla pasta.
To top it off, Barilla generously gifted all FoodTraNet members a bag filled with their products, including some of their latest releases, as a memento of the visit.
Barilla cooking workshop
On the second day, the ESRs embarked on a virtual tour of Barilla's Research and Development Department to see how the scientific work there connected with their FoodTraNet projects. This part of the event provided the ESRs with valuable insights and understanding.
The most exciting part of the day was the hands-on cooking experience at the Barilla Academy. ESRs and supervisors participated in a private cooking class led by Barilla chefs, working together as a team to prepare a variety of dishes.
The food prepared was served in the aesthetic Barilla library, where everyone got to taste what they cooked! It was a delightful and engaging team-building activity for all.