We have developed a tradition of monthly engineering team lunches at Tuono. The best part is that we have convinced Mike Stack to cook for us. Mike is a fantastic cook and he loves to cook for a group. So, we like to think of it as a win-win. Mike gets to cook, and we get to eat. Unfortunately, we had to put a pause on our tradition when we switched to working from home in March, so we have been missing our team lunches.
It occurred to me while I was hiking over Memorial Day weekend that our engineering team is all within driving distance. So, if I could convince Mike to cook and Randy to deliver to half of the team, we could have a remote team lunch. I discussed it with Mike, and he was on board. He even had a few suggestions for meals that would be easy to transport. The common theme was they could all be cooked on his new flattop. In a thinly veiled attempt to convince him to fire up the Big Green Egg and cook a pile of meat, I suggested pulled pork would probably transport well. Luckily for my barbecue craving, Mike readily agreed.
I checked in with Randy and asked if he wanted to take a motorcycle ride on the morning of June 2nd. All I had to do was convince him he could fit food for half of the team in the panniers of his motorcycle. The combination of a team lunch and an excuse to spend a couple of hours riding the back roads of New England was impossible to resist.
With Randy and Mike signed up, I suggested the idea of a remote team lunch to the team in our daily sprint meeting. Everyone was excited to bring back a virtual version of our lunch tradition. We decided to make the lunch delivery a surprise and told everyone to bring “whatever they would normally eat for lunch.” They had no idea Randy and I would be delivering a Stack lunch to their doorstep!
The weather was perfect on Tuesday morning. I headed to Mike’s house early on my motorcycle to pick up all the food. Mike and his family went all out. What started as pulled pork had become an entire feast! They prepared pulled pork, 2 different barbecue sauces, coleslaw, rolls, mac and cheese, smoked beans, cornbread, and chocolate chip cookies. The only items they did not make from scratch were the rolls! This was going to be awesome! They had even assembled everything in separate bags for each team member. All Randy and I needed to do was deliver the packages!
I loaded up the sidecar of my motorcycle with all the food and headed South to meet Randy. We connected in Hudson and I handed off half of the meals. Randy headed South and I headed back North. At each stop, Randy and I delivered a touch-free and socially distanced lunch bag. We wanted to keep the deliveries a surprise for everyone, so at each destination we asked the team member not to share that they received a special delivery. Randy made it all the way to Connecticut and back home just after noon. I made my deliveries on the northern route and was home just in time to heat up my lunch and start the virtual lunch meeting.
Everyone was surprised with the delivery. The food was fantastic! And it felt great to have lunch together as a team again. Thanks to Randy and Mike for conspiring with me! And a special thank you to Mike’s family for taking our team meal to the next level!
If you are interested in seeing more of Mike Stack’s culinary wonders then you should follow him at https://www.instagram.com/chateau_stack/.