Every Thursday evening Chewse celebrates Syssitia.
– Syss… what now?
– Syssitia! It’s pronounced sɪˈsɪtɪə and spelled τὰ συσσίτια if you’re proficient in Greek.
– Got it! I think I have an idea of how to say it now, but what is Syssitia?
Syssitia was an ancient Spartan and Cretan tradition. Wait, what? What does Ancient Greece have to do with a San Francisco startup? We promise we’ll get there.
Most historic references define Syssitia as a regular banquet hosted by and for warriors. It was a communal dining institution that fostered equality amongst the community, but it was also an important aspect of military education for youths: seasoned warriors took the opportunity to teach the new generation about courage and war.
Syssitia has become one of our traditions here at Chewse. Ok, we don’t talk about war and battle, but metaphorically speaking, working for a startup sometimes feels like going into battle. Every day we face new and more difficult challenges, and we want to make sure we take the time to celebrate our weekly accomplishments with our team.
Every Thursday evening, a different team member is in charge of hosting Syssitia. That person can choose to cook, order in, or roast an entire lamb over an open fire (Ocean Beach, we’re looking at you). And although it’s not required, Syssitias tend to have a theme: Mardi Gras, Guac-off, Chewsetoberfest…
Hosting a weekly dinner allows us to socialize outside of the work mindset and provides insight into every team member’s personality. It’s also a unique way to show the rest of your company how your passions translate into food.
The best part about the meal, however, is being able to share it with our community – which is why we always invite a guest of honor to join us for dinner. And it’s also why we decided to write about it.
Everything we do is with the intention of bringing people together through food, and Syssitia is one way we do that in our office. What do you do to build community with your team?