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Celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli protégé creating interactive cooking venture

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Treating your staff to a night out in the run up to Christmas is a tradition many companies like to maintain; in fact, a whopping 11m of us will go to a work Christmas party this year. And although you might not immediately put together the concepts of Christmas parties and team building, as the holiday season is all about making the passage of another year together and celebrating your accomplishments, a great party is all about reinforcing positive relationships in the workplace, boosting morale, and motivating everyone to come back to work refreshed and reinvigorated for the New Year ahead.

Does the traditional office party model really accomplish those ideals? (I don’t know about you, but hangovers, blisters, and a couple of embarrassing memories have never been particularly motivating to me.) It’s time to ditch the upstairs function room, the buffet ham, and the bargain bubbly for something just a bit different.

AVEQIA has just the recipe for this as it’s all about creating memorable moments over incredible food – cooked by the guests themselves, with a helping hand from some of London’s top chefs. Based in the heart of London, the concept is simple: guests are divided into different groups who will work together to create the best possible version of a selected dish, whilst sipping away on fine wine and bubbles. Think creativity, think engagement, think fun!

The creation of Jean-Christophe Novelli protégé David Berggren, who’s helped develop the world of corporate and social team building, AVEQIA stems from Berggren’s concept of “active cooking”. 

The basic concept of AVEQIA follows that companies invite their clients, suppliers or personnel to share a culinary experience. By working toward a common goal, a four-course gourmet meal accompanied by wine pairings, for example, participants bond and learn more about each other than they would from simply sharing the typical work dinner. Through the guidance of Michelin star chefs throughout the pre-arranged event, AVEQIA allows its guests to experience the preparation and enjoyment of food in a fresh, friendly, sociable and distinctive way. 

Berggren said: “AVEQIA London is not a cookery school. It is a new concept in cooking and dining. Friends and colleagues can cook and eat together, which offers our guests a great way to socialise and the concept works perfectly for businesses. Instead of going down the route of one of the more predictable client entertaining events, companies wishing to develop good relationships with clients can now bring them here, cook with them, socialise with them and ultimately bond with them.

“The AVEQIA concept works very well in Sweden, but to have the concept working in London gives us the opportunity to grow the brand. Within the next five years we plan to open ten additional AVEQIA restaurants so before we do this we want to ensure that our London site is a big success.

“Now that AVEQIA is taking its next step out into the bigger world, the vision is to continue to develop, run and refine the category of active cooking, based on the values that have so far driven the concept. For this reason, unlike our competitors, we are going to develop this category by focusing on the power of gastronomy as a connector between people rather than through food only. That the food is top quality; that our chefs have experience from star-restaurants; that we were the ones who created the category – they are all factors that allow us the credibility to take it further and enable people to connect powerfully through gastronomy.”

The Swedish proof of concept has welcomed over 85,000 guests since its 1999 opening in Stockholm, including corporate guests from Goldman Sachs, Deloitte and J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Nat West.

London Head Chef Eric Allouard, formerly of Fleur (Gordon Ramsay), Sketch (Pierre Gagnaire), L’Etranger, Peyton and Byrne (Oliver Peyton) and Taha’a Pearl Beach Hotel (6 star Hotel in Tahiti) together with esteemed product partnerships with Gaggenau, Siemens, KRUG Champagne have helped AVEQIA’s success thus far.

Combined, AVEQIA’s chefs have gathered more than 30 Michelin stars in restaurants they’ve previously worked for.

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