How are couples compatible? Sometimes it is because they are so similar, sometimes different, and sometimes they have just the right overlap.

Suzen creates excellent food. I eat it. Fundamentally, I’m a geek, a mathematician, who loves to visualize things. Suzen is a teacher and for her Cooking by the Book program here in New York City she sometimes needs help in explaining one of her teambuilding challenges. She just created a very interesting idea for a client who wanted to inspire his group. The whole group was divided into four teams, with each team cooking one recipe for their meal. But, the teams were going to be very dependent on each other.

Each team needed some ingredients, or prep work, from other teams and, in return, had to supply to the other teams. There was complete interdependency. Explaining these relationships to clients, who have come to have fun and not a lecture on dependency theory, was the challenge. I listened to Suzen and immediately realized what to do: depict the event as a network with the dependencies linking each team.

We’re going to apply this technique to future events here. In our kitchen, teams have 60-90 minutes to prepare a meeting. There is just enough time for folks to cook, but not a lot of time to negotiate. This chart makes it clear to everyone that in their hour+ in the kitchen, they have some swift communication to do.

While we do this for teambuilding, you can use it for a cooking party. To engage your guests, divide them into teams. You may want to arm everyone with a glass of wine. Then let them talk, cook, and of course eat.