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What are the differences between a group, teamwork and a true team? This definition may shed some light, however, it falls short of the real meaning of team:


“A group of people with different skills and

different tasks, who work together on a

common project, service, or goal, with a

meshing of functions and mutual support.”

Most people would agree with the interpretation offered in this definition, but does it really clarify why some teams consistently reach and exceed goals; goals that are focused on results both professional and personal? Any group can be directed to work together to accomplish a goal. This is, after all, why we have managers and supervisors. The question is “what happens in the absence of directive”?

Those of us who have experienced a real “team” situation understand how special that is. “Teams” go beyond the obvious: there is chemistry, a bond that stems from understanding, appreciation, support, dedication, resolve and friendship. This connection, once experienced, does bring about great results in the moment but also evolves into a sense of family that is just as strong as any biological family unit. Team members care for each other, are truly interested in what each member is doing and gains strength from that connection.

I spent last weekend with fellow chefs who were a part of the 1988 New England Culinary Olympic Team. I have, in previous posts, told the story of how this team came together and what we accomplished, but this weekend served as a reminder to me just how important this bond was and is. The four days we cooked together, broke bread, toasted with a few glasses of wine and simply enjoyed each other’s company, was by far one of the highlights of my year.

We became familiar with each other’s recent professional accomplishments, talked about family, and laughed constantly. We were humbled by Chef Charles Carroll’s work with “Operation Hot” in support of our troops in Afghanistan, were amazed at the work that Joe Faria was doing at Quail Valley Golf and River Club, were riveted to the stories that Michael Beriau shared about his ski patrol work outside of his culinary commitments at White Oaks Country Club and went to school watching Walter Zuromski demonstrate contemporary techniques for food preparation. It was a true demonstration of what can happen when “team” takes place.

Thank you Joe Faria and Amy Haase-Hughes for putting this weekend together. It is my understanding that the week of charity at their property will raise over $400,000 in support of children’s programs in the Vero Beach area. We were treated like kings and were proud to have contributed in some way to the success of the events.

Cooking together was so easy. It was like the 25-year separation from our group didn’t exist. From the moment we first hugged each other we were back in 1988. I wish that everyone would find an opportunity in their lives to experience this type of bonding. I feel very blessed.

The 1988 New England Culinary Team was:

Anton Flory – Team Manager
Roland Czekelius – Team Captain
Charles Carroll (pictured)
Michael Beriau (pictured)
Walter Zuromski (pictured)
Joe Faria (pictured)
Paul Sorgule (pictured)
George Higgins
Lars Johansson
Danny Varano
Neil Connolly

This weekend was dedicated in memory of the team members and advisors we have lost in recent years: Anton Flory, Roland Czekelius, Neil Connolly, John Carroll, Gino Correlli and Bud Matheson.

For more information about the team members in attendance:

Joe Faria: http://www.quailvalleygolfclub.com

Charles Carroll and Operation Hot: http://www.chefcharlescarroll.com

Michael Beriau: http://www.whitecliffscc.com

Walter Zuromski: http://www.chefservicesgroup.com

Paul Sorgule: http://www.harvestamericaventures.com