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Two of the UK’s best known companies believe exchanging treasured family food and recipes could hold the key to developing greater cultural awareness and diversity within organisations.

BT and AXA PPP healthcare have both taken part in a unique scheme, pioneered by community recipe website, that aims to break down barriers by encouraging staff to not only talk about their favourite recipes, but to share the stories behind those dishes.

The new initiative involves the creation of a community website dedicated to food within each organisation. Hailed as the ultimate team building tool – the website allows staff to better understand their colleagues through what they eat and build relationships with other employees throughout the world.

As part of the programme also organise a huge number of food social events, ranging from company bake offs to curry competitions, all aimed at increasing interaction between staff. Employees are also offered a unique opportunity to design their own personal recipe books, which are then professionally produced and can be used to raise money for charity.

Carol Savage, founder of says “The idea behind the project is that food is a great way to get people talking. Everyone has a recipe that holds a personal meaning for them, whether it reminds them of their mother’s cooking or their student days. We have seen that sharing these stories brings people together from the most senior level managers to temporary members of staff.”

The project has been running in BT since September 2007 and set to be launched at AXA PPP healthcare this August.

Caroline Waters, Director People & Policy at BT says "Food is a great way to create a dialogue amongst and between different people. Something as simple as sharing the different dishes we enjoy as part of our family, culture or religious traditions is a great way of getting to know more about each others' customs and backgrounds. At BT, we believe exploring the world of food through MyDish encourages people to discover the richness of different cultures that exist across our global business".

AXA PPP healthcare Engagement Director, Mark Moorton, believes the scheme will have a huge impact on staff relations: “The scheme is a great way to celebrate the richness and diversity within our company. It’s also a great way for staff to share recipes, hints and tips about healthy eating, which of course is at the core of our business”.

Over the next five years hopes to role out similar schemes in major corporations across the UK.
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