On rotating Fridays at TEAN HQ we have a group lunch. We take turns making it for the office in teams of two, a tradition that was born when the office relocated to Chicago in 2011.

Jess and Lily make a Korean specialty Jajangmyeon

Originally the idea of having a “free lunch” on Fridays was meant to be a reward for staff for spreading smiles, one of our TEAN core values. However, it was quickly recognized that the team is so awesome at spreading smiles that Friday would always be a free lunch day.

Our Friday lunch tradition has now evolved and become important to the company culture for a number of reasons.

Brynne and Lauren make Thai yellow curry

First, it’s important for the team to bond. We don’t talk about work during Friday lunches. It’s a time for people to get to know each other better. There is certainly something about coming together to cook and share a meal that helps cement relationships.

John and Russ serve up soup with crostinis for the team

There also tends to be a country theme to the lunches people choose to prepare. While there are no “rules” on what you make, the team often likes making dishes from our study abroad destinations in Asia-Pacific. That week’s chefs will give an explanation of what we are eating, plus if there is there is any cultural significance.

Pumpkin chili by Nick and Katherine

Lastly, our team may or may not have a slight competitive edge… so what better way than to have a regular cook-off series and show off those kitchen skills. Don’t worry, it’s all in good fun.

If you’re ever in Chicago (especially for a Friday lunch) please stop by and see us. We would love to share a meal with you too. Visit our Facebook Page for more pictures from Friday lunches.