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Groups Eat Up Team Building with Food at Lansdowne Resort

Team building is not just navigating the ropes course or lining up for the trust falls any longer. As recently highlighted in, Lansdowne Resort is riding the team building foodie trend and finding great success.   

The trend now, according to Bree Benson, director of conference services at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia, has groups moving away from the "heady trust-building activities where everyone is sharing their feelings with each other" and toward engaging, interactive, hands-on programs where delegates can showcase their leadership, communication and teamwork without being ostentatious about it. Besides, Benson adds, "Food creates a lot of buzz and, when you get the opportunity for a group to have some fun and get to know each other in a low-stress environment, you get moments that will resonate with them back at the office."

An example of catering to the needs of a specific client, Lansdowne created a Cake-Decorating Derby. Teams are ushered to individual stations set up with a nine-inch cake round and basic decorating tools. Ingredients included candy, icing and inedible decorations such as toy army men and small plastic sports figurines. Teams had to decorate their cake according to a surprise theme within the allotted 20-minute time limit. Cakes were then lined up in the ballroom for judging, with winners determined by the volume of applause and/or a panel of judges from the resort.

When a group of first-year law associates was asked to design a "current events cake" last April, decorations invoked breaking news relating to Charlie Sheen, the Arab Spring and college basketball's March Madness. "The whole landscape of the event changed from very reserved to far more relaxed," recalls Benson. "People sometimes get intimidated by preparing something others have to eat and judge, but you don't have to be a good cook to decorate a cake."

In August, Lansdowne also staged an omelet-making contest which was enjoyed by all and left no one with egg on their face.

For more serious deliberations, the Lansdowne Resort features a 50,000-square-foot, IACC-certified conference center on-site.


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