Best Self Atlanta took to the kitchen at Team Building with Taste to sharpen solidarity, add a pinch of trust and a dash of appreciation for one another.

By Annie Paschal

Team Building with Taste, Mammoth Studio 3Love to watch “Chopped,” Food Network’s culinary showdown series? Can you turn on an oven or whip up crème brûlée like a pro? Want to connect more with your coworkers? If you answered yes to any of these questions, visit Team Building with Taste (TBWT). Best Self Atlanta, one of Atlanta Best Media’s flagship publications, joined forces with its sister publication, My Home Improvement, and its friends in the home improvement industry to take on a cooking challenge.

Started by chef Paul McKeon and Jack Gerblick in 2012, TBWT invites businesses to strengthen their teamwork through collaborative cooking. During the culinary challenge, teams have 55 minutes to prepare a three-dish meal while handling the occasional curveball.

Team Building with Taste, Mammoth Studio 6Our group was strategically split into four teams. This allowed people in departments that don’t interact on a regular basis an opportunity to get to know each other better. Once the clock started, we were off to make the “healthy” menu (seven other menu options are also available, including Bistro, Italian, South of the Border and more). We got organized to make kale salad, poached salmon, and warm quinoa. Someone in each group immediately took charge by assigning roles, brainstorming ways to enhance the recipe, and more. A pantry stocked with fresh vegetables, plenty of spices, bacon, cheeses, and everything in between was at our disposal. With written recipes in hand and a TBWT-designated chef at each station, the groups worked together to create a meal that would impress the judges.

Team Building with Taste, Mammoth Studio 1 When the timer sounded, everyone put down their bowls and added finishing touches to their plate for the judges. Then it was time to present our dishes to fellow competitors and convince the judges to choose their group as the winner. Some chose catchy sayings and others went with creative music and dances. Team Two featured editorial assistant Wyndi Kappes on the megaphone giving a funny speech and starting a “Kale Yeah!” chant. Getting the audience involved definitely scored them extra points.

Team Building with Taste, Mammoth Studio 4Ultimately it was Team Four that smoked the competition with their Asian-inspired spin on the salmon and the off-recipe spontaneity (think flavorful touches and creative takes on technique) of Antonette Copeland, the design director at CR Home Design Center, and help from Paul Castell, president/owner of Dove Studio Kitchen & Bath.

After the judges made their decision based on presentation, plating, and taste, we enjoyed the fruits of everyone’s labor by digging into each team’s dishes. As we ate, we reflected on what we learned about our coworkers and our newfound trust, respect and dependence on each other.

Team Building with Taste, Mammoth Studio 5Each team chose a member that added something extra special to the activity and crowned the individual “MVP” with a chef’s hat. Sales/marketing assistant Halen Adair added spectacular creativity and quick thinking to team Team Three aka “This Just Thin.” Overall, this unique team-building experience, which more than 25,000 people have participated in, received rave reviews from our group. Now we know why 80 percent of other participants said this was the best team-building activity they have ever done.

Details: 2715 Peachtree Square, Atlanta;

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Richie ArpinoFor the 8th year in a row, your nominations and votes have made this contest a celebration of individuals who truly embody what it means to be your “best self.”

Thank you for the hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes. You guys really know how to pick ’em! I picked one this year as well.

I chose Laura Janelle Downey as my Publisher’s Pick because while not eligible to be in the contest because she works at Atlanta Best Media, I know firsthand of her commitment to physical and spiritual health and dedication to giving back. Meet our esteemed managing editor here.

What makes this year even more special is that we not only celebrated our 2018 winners, but we recognized our entire Over 40 & Fabulous! family of winners from 2010-2017. These like-minded men and women who are devoted to serving our community have become friends and colleagues, using their platforms and passions to collectively make an impact on the world. Check out the alumni who joined us this year for our contest winners photo shoot at King Plow Arts Center.

As for this year’s winners, I hope you enjoy their captivating stories and get inspired! We definitely did.

And last but certainly not least, thank you to our expert partners who make this contest and the events surrounding it possible. Learn more about them here.

All the best!

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Sarah Diller's PhotographsI must admit that the June/July issue is one of my favorites. Getting to know the winners of our Over 40 & Fabulous! contest during the photo shoot, events, and by reading their Q&As always inspires me. From the standout philanthropy work our 2018 winner, Lynne McDonald, does with youth who have Type 1 diabetes (which she also has), to the passion for health that lifted Lisa Mohager out of poverty, these 15 women and men are a shining example of what it means to be your best self. I’m sure their stories will leave you with the same feeling of awe that I felt when I first read them. Click here to see for yourself.

Also in preparation for this issue, the Best Self Atlanta and Atlanta Best Media team added some flavor to our usual Team Activity Day outing. In the past, we have taken a trip back in time to the ’80s by breakdancing with dancer Honey Rockwell and gotten Zen with Tai Chi. Recently, we took to the kitchen at Team Building with Taste. Far from the typical team-building activity, we bonded during a culinary showdown. Read about all the delicious fun here.

On a more serious note, we also dive into a life transition that can be one of the most difficult to navigate. According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. The reality is bleak, but navigating the divorce process doesn’t have to be. In “Keeping It Together When Going Separate Ways,” we break down the legal and emotional intricacies of divorce such as custody agreements, therapy options and the impact it has on children. Sometimes, along this journey called life, we wind up on a road we never thought we’d be on or that presents challenges we don’t want to face. I hope the 2018 June/July issue reminds you that no matter where you end up, you always have the choice to learn and grow from every situation as our contest winners have.

Happy reading,

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Miguel Ortiz_LifeTime-  M-Squared PR


Q: How can I make sure my workout routine is well-balanced?

A: “First determine how much time you can devote daily to working out. For example, if you have an hour, try breaking it down into 10 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of stretching and 30 minutes of strength training,” says Miguel Ortiz, Life Time Athletic Sandy Springs National Program Manager TEAM CUT

Details: 5580 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs; LifeTime.Life

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Neighbor LoveNeighbor Love makes sure metro Atlanta seniors never feel forgotten. The group organizes special holiday parties throughout the year for nursing home residents. With the help of volunteers, these events provide the elderly with much needed social interaction and fun.

Join the organization for various Father’s Day events June 16-17 at nursing homes around the city. Assist with setting up party decorations, goodie bag preparation, and then spend quality time getting to know the attendees. Sign-up is available online.


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Coco KissesLooking for skincare that nurtures sensitive skin? COCO KISSES by BRWN Beauty features a creamy body wash, a body scrub and moisturizing lotion consisting of shea butter, coconut oil, vitamins and other essential oils. Founder and Atlanta native, Asheya Dixon was inspired by her mother who swore by cocoa butter that kept her skin feeling great.


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The Whitley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Atlanta Buckhead


At the new culinary hotspot, Trade Root, (located inside The Whitley, a Luxury Collection Hotel) executive chef Marc Suennemann lets whole-food ingredients take center stage in each dish. Cool off with the Zucchini Cakes paired with a refreshing tang of cucumber-garlic-yogurt sauce or taste a rainbow of vegetables like carrots and roasted Brussels sprouts with the Lemon Poached Georgia Trout sprinkled with pine nuts.

Details: 3434 Peachtree Rd. NE., Atlanta.

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Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta Executive Chef Michael Patria is back with another easy and healthy recipe. As Chef Patria embarks on a weight loss journey this summer, each month he’s sharing a nutritious recipe that he’s been loving lately.

Chef Michael“I really enjoy this dish because I think it’s a great way to utilize a local fish and combine it with a medley of vegetables that screams ‘fresh out of the garden.’ I enjoy adding the mustard greens because they’re beautiful and they add a wonderful pepper flavor to the dish,” says Patria.


1 ear of golden Florida corn, cut from the cob

4 Heirloom Cherry tomatoes halved

8 cooked fava beans

1 cipollini onion, sliced into wedges

1 chopped scallion

1/2 tablespoon picked tarragon

1 teaspoon picked thyme

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

One 8-ounce North Georgia trout deboned

5 sprigs of red frill mustard green


North Georgia TroutProcedure

Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle pan with olive oil.

Season trout on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Place trout in skillet, skin-side down, and sear.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add cipollini onion and corn and sauté over medium-high heat until both vegetables begin to brown.

Remove from heat and add fava beans, tomato, fresh herbs, and scallion. Finish with sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon succotash onto the center of the plate.

Once trout is 85 percent cooked (roughly 2-3 minutes), flip in the pan so the flesh-side is down.

Place fish over succotash. Garnish with springs of red frill mustard greens


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SoulCycle AtlantaLoved by celebrities such as Madonna, the indoor cycling sensation, SoulCycle, has opened its first Georgia location in the Shops Around Lenox. At the 56-bike studio, attendees can hop on for a high-energy 45-minute ride that incorporates hand weights and core-engaging choreography. You won’t need coffee after a 7 a.m. class with Lorenzo!

Details: 3400 Around Lenox Dr., Atlanta;

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Want to see your workout results through more than just your reflection in the mirror? If so, try a 40-second full-body scan at Next Age Fitness. Comparable to a
BOD POD® test, this Fit3D device can provide information about body-fat percentage, posture, and more.

Details: $25,1610 Lavista Rd. NE., Atlanta;

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